noun, often attributive
swid·​den | \ ˈswi-dᵊn How to pronounce swidden (audio) \

Definition of swidden

: a temporary agricultural plot formed by cutting back and burning off vegetative cover

Examples of swidden in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Consequently, carbon storage under swidden-fallow systems is greater both above and below the ground. National Geographic, "These Farmers Slash and Burn Forests—But in a Good Way," 8 Mar. 2016

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'swidden.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of swidden

circa 1868, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for swidden

English dialect, burned clearing, probably from Old Norse svithinn, past participle of svitha to burn, singe

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about swidden

Time Traveler for swidden

Time Traveler

The first known use of swidden was circa 1868

See more words from the same year

Statistics for swidden

Cite this Entry

“Swidden.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/swidden. Accessed 22 Sep. 2020.

Comments on swidden

What made you want to look up swidden? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three bears two of them look like theyre whispering to a third bear who looks chuffed to be the center of attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!