tun·dra | \ˈtən-drə also ˈtu̇n- \

Definition of tundra 

: a level or rolling treeless plain that is characteristic of arctic and subarctic regions, consists of black mucky soil with a permanently frozen subsoil, and has a dominant vegetation of mosses, lichens, herbs, and dwarf shrubs also : a similar region confined to mountainous areas above timberline

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Examples of tundra in a Sentence

a report on the arctic tundra of Alaska and the polar bears that inhabit that vast, frozen plain

Recent Examples on the Web

For those who haven't, a tussock is a small, compact tuft of grass that covers huge areas of the tundra, often in wetland environments. Holly Brooks, Anchorage Daily News, "When the Brooks family ventured to the Brooks Range for a summer adventure, winter reared its head," 1 July 2018 Film fest highlights global cycling adventures Explore Nunavut’s frozen tundra and the heat of the Australian Outback, see a father and son sharing their first overnight bike outing, and follow a woman on a solo cycling adventure. Kari Bodnarchuk, BostonGlobe.com, "Here, there, and everywhere," 9 May 2018 The ban included plastic takeout containers, which were littering the tundra. Devin Kelly, Anchorage Daily News, "‘Somebody’s got to do it.’ Anchorage Assembly members consider banning plastic shopping bags," 8 July 2018 The creatures are native to the Arctic tundra, which includes parts of northern Alaska, Canada and Siberia. Aaron Robertson, New York Times, "An Unusual Jailbird Is Found at Rikers Island: A Snowy Owl," 3 July 2018 Black bears dominate, numbering 36, and are joined in the drive-through area by goats, Dall sheep, elk, wolves (tundra and arctic), bison (white and American) and bears (junior and adult). Scott Craven, azcentral, "Bearizona: Top things to do at drive-thru wildlife park in Williams," 12 July 2018 Tucked up against Sweden’s northwest border, Keb is both remote (the closest town is a bus stop) and barren—think verdant alpine tundra, snowcapped summits, and alpine lakes. Outside Online, "A Trekker’s Guide to Sweden," 7 June 2018 Some enterprising beavers are even moving northward into the Arctic tundra, transforming the landscape. National Geographic, "6 Amazing Structures Built by Surprising Creatures," 7 May 2018 There will be the standard green propaganda photos and videos of the refuge's beautiful southern locales again being passed off to the rubes as the windblown tundra of the barren coastal plain. Paul Jenkins, Anchorage Daily News, "ANWR opening begins a new phase in an old battle," 6 Jan. 2018

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

circa 1841, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for tundra

Russian, from Russian dialect (northeast) tundra, tundara, from Kildin Sami (Sami language of the northern Kola Peninsula) tūnter

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Dictionary Entries near tundra





tundra swan

tundra vole


Statistics for tundra

Last Updated

14 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for tundra

The first known use of tundra was circa 1841

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More Definitions for tundra



English Language Learners Definition of tundra

: a large area of flat land in northern parts of the world where there are no trees and the ground is always frozen


tun·dra | \ˈtən-drə \

Kids Definition of tundra

: a treeless plain of arctic regions having a permanently frozen layer below the surface of the soil

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More from Merriam-Webster on tundra

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tundra

Spanish Central: Translation of tundra

Nglish: Translation of tundra for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about tundra

Comments on tundra

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


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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