ter·​rain tə-ˈrān How to pronounce terrain (audio)
 also  te-
: a geographic area
: a piece of land : ground
: the physical features of a tract of land
: a field of knowledge or interest

Example Sentences

We had to drive over some rough terrain. We hiked through a variety of terrains.
Recent Examples on the Web The fire was reported around 12:10 p.m. in rugged and hilly terrain near Marron Valley Road and Otay Mountain Truck Trail. David Hernandez, San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 Nov. 2022 Almost all the offerings at Alta will be in intermediate and advanced terrain since installation of the new Sunnyside lift has been delayed by supply chain issues. Julie Jag, The Salt Lake Tribune, 18 Nov. 2022 After the incumbent who lives there decided not to seek reelection,Harder ran in the friendlier electoral terrain. Seema Mehta, Los Angeles Times, 15 Nov. 2022 But in terms of locating, identifying and engaging an enemy behind cover in urban terrain, Lanius looks like a huge step forward. David Hambling, Forbes, 11 Nov. 2022 And then certainly conducting an offensive with ground forces against a determined opposition, particularly armed with anti-tank missiles and in urbanized terrain is not going to be very, very successful. CBS News, 9 Nov. 2022 Central and eastern Nevada are forecast to experience wind gusts as high as 55 to 65 mph in the higher terrain. Jennifer Gray, CNN, 7 Nov. 2022 These rains could produce flash flooding, along with mudslides, in higher terrain, the hurricane center said. Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, 13 Oct. 2022 The lighting was different this time, Phillips told me, and the shadows brought out dramatic shapes in the terrain. Marina Koren, The Atlantic, 6 Oct. 2022 See More

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.

Word History


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

First Known Use

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

Time Traveler
The first known use of terrain was in 1766

Dictionary Entries Near terrain

Cite this Entry

“Terrain.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/terrain. Accessed 5 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition



ter·​rain tə-ˈrān How to pronounce terrain (audio)
 also  te-
: the surface features of an area of land
rough terrain

More from Merriam-Webster on terrain

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