tum·​ble·​weed | \ ˈtəm-bəl-ˌwēd How to pronounce tumbleweed (audio) \

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 All that was missing was a tumbleweed blowing across the 50-yard line. Shannon Ryan, chicagotribune.com, "Column: Empty stadiums. Cardboard cutouts. And no Bucky Badger? Yes, the Big Ten kicked off its long-awaited football season — but nothing about it felt the same.," 24 Oct. 2020 The algae easily breaks off and rolls across the ocean floor like tumbleweed, scientists say, covering nearby reefs in thick vegetation that out-competes coral for space, sunlight and nutrients. Author: Caleb Jones, Anchorage Daily News, "Aggressive seaweed smothers one of world’s most remote reefs in the Hawaiian Islands," 8 July 2020 These dealers aren’t drastically affected by city streets turned to tumbleweed alleys — foot traffic has been falling for years. Brian T. Allen, National Review, "The Pulse of the Art World, Mid-Pandemic," 11 Apr. 2020 These machine are tough on tricky pet hair, which can become matted into carpets and create tumbleweeds of fur on hard floors. Popular Science, "The best vacuums for people with pets," 1 Apr. 2020 The desert is flat, boring and grows nothing but tumbleweeds. Roger Naylor, azcentral, "Lake Pleasant is a desert oasis near Phoenix. Here's everything you can do there," 4 Mar. 2020 In 1989, streets and houses in Mobridge, S.D., were buried under tumbleweeds tossed by 50-mile-an-hour winds. Maria Cramer, New York Times, "Storm of Tumbleweeds Buries Cars, Terrifies Drivers and Astounds Police," 2 Jan. 2020 The roadway in both directions was closed for more than 10 hours Tuesday in order for the tumbleweeds to be removed. Minyvonne Burke, NBC News, "30-foot tumbleweed pileup traps cars, semi-truck on Washington highway," 2 Jan. 2020 Challenged to sum up the movie’s elements in the ad’s remaining 26 seconds, SpongeBob speeds through a hysterically surreal list that includes robots, Snoop Dogg and a wise sage (Keanu Reeves in a tumbleweed!). Bruce Fretts, New York Times, "Super Bowl Movie Trailers Ranked From Best to Worst," 3 Feb. 2020

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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Time Traveler for tumbleweed

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The first known use of tumbleweed was in 1858

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Statistics for tumbleweed

Last Updated

28 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tumbleweed.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tumbleweed. Accessed 5 Dec. 2020.

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More Definitions for tumbleweed


How to pronounce tumbleweed (audio)

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 How to pronounce tumbleweed (audio) \

Kids Definition of tumbleweed

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

More from Merriam-Webster on tumbleweed

Nglish: Translation of tumbleweed for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about tumbleweed

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