ter·rain | \ tə-ˈrān also te- \

Definition of terrain 

1a(1) : a geographic area

(2) : a piece of land : ground

b : the physical features of a tract of land

3a : a field of knowledge or interest

b : environment, milieu

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Examples of terrain in a Sentence

We had to drive over some rough terrain. We hiked through a variety of terrains.

Recent Examples on the Web

Officials warned that flooding may also occur in sections not experiencing rain due to terrain. Pam Kragen, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Flash flood warning issued for North County mountains and deserts," 12 July 2018 At other times, William focused on details of the landscape: a broken fence by a riverside, shadows cast by trees, unchanging streams in the midst of changing terrain. Susan Dunne, courant.com, "'Two Lives, One Passion' At Springfield Museums," 7 July 2018 Stone said video screens displaying scenes of passing terrain might be a better option for hyperloop pods than zoetrope windows. Kate Baggaley /, NBC News, "This trippy optical illusion could make hyperloop tubes transparent," 29 June 2018 Surgeons at Winston-Salem's Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have reattached the severed arm of a 13-year-old boy who was hurt in a utility-terrain vehicle accident. Bruce Henderson, charlotteobserver, "A boy's arm was severed in an accident. But his mom's quick thinking saved him.," 25 June 2018 On Sunday, the royal mom of three proved her prowess for navigating any terrain in wedges during Prince William’s charity polo match. Erin Hill, PEOPLE.com, "Kate Middleton Just Proved She Can Do Anything in a Pair of Sky-High Wedges: See the Photos!," 11 June 2018 The rest are hauled to the lot's uneven terrain for various reasons such as for traffic or parking violations. Phillip M. Bailey, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville is littered with abandoned cars, and residents aren't happy," 7 June 2018 And terrain like mountain gaps or Turnagain Arm serve as wind-intensifying funnels. Laurel Andrews, Anchorage Daily News, "Hillside home loses roof as gusts usher in Southcentral Alaska windstorm," 24 Apr. 2018 The terrain is especially rugged along this section of the Mendocino coastline. Crimesider Staff, CBS News, "Hart family crash: Surveillance image reviewed as search widens for 3 missing kids," 4 Apr. 2018

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

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First Known Use of terrain

1766, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

History and Etymology for terrain

French, land, ground, from Old French terrein, from Vulgar Latin *terranum, alteration of Latin terrenum, from neuter of terrenus of earth — more at terrene

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Statistics for terrain

Last Updated

14 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for terrain

The first known use of terrain was in 1766

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More Definitions for terrain



English Language Learners Definition of terrain

: land of a particular kind


ter·rain | \ tə-ˈrān \

Kids Definition of terrain

: the features of the surface of a piece of land hilly terrain swampy terrain

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Comments on terrain

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


an open space surrounded by woods

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