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 But as the Arctic warms, sea ice is shrinking and the tundra is expanding. John Kelly, Washington Post, "Remembering a time when things got a little freaky at the National Zoo," 6 Mar. 2020 Except, Nome isn’t directly surrounded by wooded mountains but by treeless tundra. David Reamer, Anchorage Daily News, "Togo was the true hero dog of the serum run; it’s about time he got his due," 2 Mar. 2020 In 2017, ABC News saw firsthand how Russia is preparing for its military expansion into the Arctic, staking a claim on tundra that's becoming strategically important due to climate change. Devin Dwyer, ABC News, "Inside Army Mountain Warfare School as Pentagon moves to expand elite training," 25 Feb. 2020 Researchers note the theory that, at the end of the last Ice Age, the mammoth steppe, which was once home to the wooly mammoth and the wooly rhinoceros, became tundra in the north, taiga, or forest in the middle and steppe in the south. Fox News, "Frozen bird discovered in Siberia is 46,000 years old, scientists discover," 21 Feb. 2020 Wood frogs waited in tundra ponds, magpies in shrub thickets, red squirrels in boreal woods. New York Times, "‘The Adventurer’s Son,’ by Roman Dial: An Excerpt," 18 Feb. 2020 Comparing the ancient beetle fossils with those found on similar landscapes today, Elias concluded that southern Beringia was a fairly moist tundra environment that could have supported a wide variety of animals. Rafal Gerszak, Smithsonian, "It’s one of the greatest mysteries of our time. But archaeologists and even geneticists are closer than ever to understanding when humans made the first bold journey to the Americas," 19 Dec. 2019 So when tundra turns to a pond, don’t expect the Federal Emergency Management Agency to show up. Simon Montlake, The Christian Science Monitor, "Will climate change force this Alaska village to relocate?," 1 July 2019 Newtok’s relocation, necessary due to melting permafrost, sinking tundra and advancing erosion, has been talked about for decades, and not just here. Marc Lester, Anchorage Daily News, "A Western Alaska village, long threatened by erosion and flooding, begins to relocate," 19 Oct. 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

15 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tundra.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tundra. Accessed 28 Mar. 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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