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

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 There’s tundra hikes, a sail to the Tasiusaq Fjord system that involves off-roading to two glaciers and an ice sheet. Jillian Dara, Robb Report, 29 Feb. 2024 The result is that trees in Alaska’s Brooks Range are rapidly moving into the treeless tundra. David J. Cooper, The Conversation, 3 Nov. 2023 Inspection of nearby animal teeth and bones revealed that these early humans existed amid a harsh, tundra landscape populated by reindeer, cave bears, horses and woolly rhinoceros in conditions comparable to modern Siberia or northern Scandinavia. Catherine Duncan, Smithsonian Magazine, 2 Feb. 2024 As the planet warms, and snow coverage of Alaska’s tundra contracts, other winter sports are converging with the mushers on the little snow that’s left. Talia Barrington, The Atlantic, 31 Jan. 2024 The brutal Arctic tundra, rare glimpses of sunlight, and eccentric small-town characters are the draw here. Andrea Duncan-Mao, Vulture, 28 Jan. 2024 The loon breeds in the Arctic tundra during the summer. Helena Wegner, Sacramento Bee, 25 Jan. 2024 But others wondered whether supporters of Trump's rivals would make the same calculation and that turning out would not blunt his victory, making venturing out in a virtual tundra seemingly not worth it. Tal Axelrod, ABC News, 15 Jan. 2024 Around the mountain camera there aren’t any trees, just alpine tundra. Natalie B. Compton, Anchorage Daily News, 7 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'tundra.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

circa 1841, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of tundra was circa 1841

Dictionary Entries Near tundra

Cite this Entry

“Tundra.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tundra. Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


tun·​dra ˈtən-drə How to pronounce tundra (audio)
 also  ˈtu̇n-
: a treeless plain especially of arctic regions having a permanently frozen layer below the surface soil and plant life made up mostly of mosses, lichens, herbs, and very small shrubs

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