tum·ble·weed | \ˈtəm-bəl-ˌwēd \

Definition of tumbleweed 

: a plant (such as Russian thistle or any of several amaranths) that breaks away from its roots in the autumn and is driven about by the wind as a light rolling mass

Examples of tumbleweed in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

True, tumbleweeds roll across the desert, and many bacteria move themselves through fluids by spinning whip-like appendages, but these are not good choices for negotiating the unpredictable ruggedness of land. Charles S. Cockell, WSJ, "The Limits of Extra-Terrestrial Freakiness," 7 June 2018 Can the system distinguish a tumbleweed from a toddler? Aarian Marshall And Alex Davies, WIRED, "Uber's Self-Driving Car Saw the Woman It Killed, Report Says," 24 May 2018 For the past few decades, the tumbleweed town has been owned by members of a single family. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Historic California Ghost Town Is Up For Sale," 16 June 2018 This is then analyzed by artificial intelligence that is trained to detect the difference between a tumbleweed, car, coyote, or human based on gait and other factors. Shoshana Wodinsky, The Verge, "Palmer Luckey’s border control tech has already caught dozens of people," 11 June 2018 As the day wore on, and wind gusts reached nearly 50 mph in the high desert, more and more tumbleweeds swept into this neighborhood on the southern edge of town, bombarding some 150 houses off Mesa Street. Javier Panzar, latimes.com, "Howling wind and tumbleweeds wreak havoc in Victorville," 18 Apr. 2018 In others, the vehicle should ignore the tumbleweed, refrain from a sudden, dangerous braking action, and keep on rolling. Aarian Marshall And Alex Davies, WIRED, "Uber's Self-Driving Car Saw the Woman It Killed, Report Says," 24 May 2018 After the strong winds that swept across Southern California on Monday left the High Desert community of Victorville buried in tumbleweeds, locals were forced to ask the city for help removing the prickly bushes. Megan Mccluskey, Time, "Neighborhood Calls for Help After Getting Buried in Tumbleweed Takeover," 18 Apr. 2018 The audacity of Trump, with a head of hair that closely resembles two tumbleweeds passing in the night, pointing out a single piece of dandruff on another man takes an incredible lack of self-awareness. Cam Wolf, GQ, "Noted Hair Owner Donald Trump Gives Haircare Advice," 24 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tumbleweed.' 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 tumbleweed

1858, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of tumbleweed was in 1858

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English Language Learners Definition of tumbleweed

: a plant found especially in the North American desert that breaks away from its roots and is blown across the ground by the wind


tum·ble·weed | \ˈtəm-bəl-ˌwēd \

Kids Definition of tumbleweed

: a plant that breaks away from its roots in autumn and tumbles about in the wind

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Comments on tumbleweed

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


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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