tun·​dra | \ ˈtən-drə also ˈtu̇n- How to pronounce tundra (audio) \

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 Using Golden Age writers as her guide, including Alexander Pushkin, Leo Tolstoy, Nikolai Gogol and Ivan Turgenev, Wheeler stuck to regions largely outside the major cities—like beet fields in the northwest and the Arctic tundra to the east. Jennifer Nalewicki, Smithsonian, "The Ten Best Books About Travel of 2019," 21 Nov. 2019 Reuben Wu has photographed some of the world’s most remote and extreme places: Chile’s Atacama Desert, the Bisti Badlands of New Mexico, the Arctic tundra of Norway, Peru’s Pastoruri glacier. Wired, "Drawing With Drones Over the Salt Flats of Bolivia," 16 Nov. 2019 During our exploration of the Arctic tundra, we’ll be based at the Churchill Northern Studies Centre, a nonprofit research station that has hosted National Geographic–funded scientists and conservationists. National Geographic, "Canadian Arctic Middle School Expedition," 20 Sep. 2019 The mountains here are different, and the sublime beauty of the country is enhanced by magnitude, few road connections and the mystery secreted in the Arctic tundra. Steve Meyer, Anchorage Daily News, "Is Alaska a good place for a big-game hunter? Yes and no.," 2 July 2019 Eric Post has observed seasons at the same location on the West Greenland tundra for 26 years. Cheryl Katz, National Geographic, "Warming at the poles will soon be felt globally in rising seas, extreme weather," 4 Dec. 2019 While most tundras have sparse vegetation, the paramos is famous for striking plants called frailejones that can be taller than humans and resemble a cross between a cactus and a palm tree. Christina Larson And Federica Narancio, chicagotribune.com, "Intrepid scientists witness final days of Venezuelan glacier," 26 Sep. 2019 This July the Siberian tundra warmed and dried enough to catch fire for weeks, a very unusual event. The Economist, "The consequences of a rapidly warming Arctic will be felt far afield," 21 Sep. 2019 While most tundras have sparse vegetation, the paramos is famous for striking plants called frailejones that can be taller than humans and resemble a cross between a cactus and a palm tree. Washington Post, "Hardy scientists trek to Venezuela’s last glacier amid chaos," 3 Dec. 2019

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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Time Traveler for tundra

Time Traveler

The first known use of tundra was circa 1841

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Statistics for tundra

Last Updated

19 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tundra.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tundra. Accessed 24 January 2020.

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More Definitions for tundra


How to pronounce tundra (audio)

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 How to pronounce tundra (audio) \

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

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