syl·​vat·​ic sil-ˈva-tik How to pronounce sylvatic (audio)
: sylvan
sylvatic rodents
: occurring in or affecting wild animals
sylvatic diseases

Examples of sylvatic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Pigs, rats, and dogs are the beasts most commonly implicated as hosts in the domestic sphere, but more exotic animals such as wild boar, walrus, and polar bear may also serve in the sylvatic or wild animal cycle of Trichinella. Rebecca Kreston, Discover Magazine, 25 Dec. 2016 Shortly after, a new threat arose when a spread of sylvatic plague nearly wiped out the remaining ferrets, spreading from the prairie dogs the ferrets prey on. Joshua Rapp Learn, Discover Magazine, 21 July 2022 Added genetic diversity could help protect the population from diseases such as sylvatic plague and canine distemper that periodically slash its numbers, reports Mead Gruver for the Associated Press. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, 22 Feb. 2021 All ferrets reintroduced so far are the descendants of just seven closely related animals — genetic similarity that makes today’s ferrets potentially susceptible to intestinal parasites and diseases such as sylvatic plague. NBC News, 19 Feb. 2021 The lack of genetic diversity is a concern for scientists, however: Genetic similarity would make the new ferrets potentially susceptible to intestinal parasites and diseases such as sylvatic plague. Peter Aitken, Fox News, 19 Feb. 2021 Diseases like sylvatic plague wiped out the ferrets that the biologists left behind. Theresa MacHemer, Smithsonian Magazine, 4 Jan. 2021 Most of those rare animals were then lost to disease, including sylvatic plague, the animal version of the Black Death that has plagued humans. Jonel Aleccia, Quartz, 23 Dec. 2020

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'sylvatic.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin silvaticus of the woods, wild — more at savage

First Known Use

1661, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of sylvatic was in 1661

Dictionary Entries Near sylvatic

Cite this Entry

“Sylvatic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Jul. 2024.

Medical Definition


syl·​vat·​ic sil-ˈvat-ik How to pronounce sylvatic (audio)
: occurring in, affecting, or transmitted by wild animals
sylvatic diseases
sylvatic yellow fever
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