ter·​rain | \ tə-ˈrān How to pronounce terrain (audio) 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

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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 Under its calculations, no state is more at risk than West Virginia, where mountainous terrain has historically forced communities to crowd near rivers and creeks in deep valleys. USA Today, "Millions of Americans think they’re safe from flood waters. They aren’t.," 29 June 2020 Dozens of professional rescuers have already scoured the hazardous terrain from the ground and in the air. Fox News, "Searches underway for 3 Mount Rainier hikers missing in separate incidents," 28 June 2020 The area's terrain is difficult, said incident commander Dave Gesser in a Thursday morning update, so additional crews were deployed to bolster resources. Emily Wilder, The Arizona Republic, "Arizona wildfires: Containment increases at Aquila and Central fires, Bighorn Fire grows," 25 June 2020 With its emphasis on the utility side of SUV talents, the Trooper is a tough and capable off-roader that seems more and more at home as the terrain grows rougher. Kevin Smith, Car and Driver, "Seven 1990 SUVs Tested: Ford vs. GMC vs. Isuzu vs. Jeep vs. Mitsubishi vs. Nissan vs. Toyota," 22 June 2020 Exactly how the Devils River got its forbidding name is lost to history, but there is little doubt the harsh terrain and fierce natives who once reigned here played a role. John Maccormack, ExpressNews.com, "Wind farms threaten unspoiled West Texas river and Air Force pilot training routes," 19 June 2020 Officials said the fire was burning steep and rugged terrain. Helen Wieffering, azcentral, "Arizona wildfires: Evacuations ordered for Bush Fire; Magnum and Bighorn fires continue to burn," 15 June 2020 Hiking boots can work well for early-season hunts across dry terrain. The Editors, Outdoor Life, "How to Hunt: A Step-by-Step Guide for New Adult Hunters," 3 June 2020 While wildlife taking back terrain plays well on social media, the reality threatens to deliver a devastating blow here. Katie Knorovsky, National Geographic, "Madagascar’s tourism drought could fuel another crisis," 20 May 2020

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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Time Traveler for terrain

Time Traveler

The first known use of terrain was in 1766

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Statistics for terrain

Last Updated

3 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Terrain.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/terrain. Accessed 8 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for terrain


How to pronounce terrain (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of terrain

: land of a particular kind


ter·​rain | \ tə-ˈrān How to pronounce terrain (audio) \

Kids Definition of terrain

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

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