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

In Alaska, fires have consumed more than 2.5 million acres of tundra and snow forest, leading researchers to suggest that the combination of climate change and wildfires could permanently alter the region’s forests. Kendra Pierre-louis, New York Times, "The Amazon, Siberia, Indonesia: A World of Fire," 29 Aug. 2019 High-country hikers are accustomed to seeing signs in areas of sensitive tundra urging them to stay on trails because of the fragile plants that live there. John Meyer, The Denver Post, "Snowmobilers ride on fragile Independence Pass tundra despite a lack of snow, spark concern," 17 July 2019 This one-word edit was made to recognize that fires can burn in other natural areas besides forests—a fact that anyone living in the grasslands of eastern Montana, the Alaskan tundra, or the sage-steppe Southwest already knew from experience. Sarah Berns, Outside Online, "Why Smokey Bear Desperately Needs a Makeover," 24 Aug. 2019 Eight miles of grassy tundra and wild iris separate St. Michael and Stebbins. Kyle Hopkins, ProPublica, "Clergy Abused an Entire Generation in This Village. With New Traumas, Justice Remains Elusive.," 26 July 2019 The 31,000-year-old teeth and their DNA were part of a larger study, co-authored by an anthropologist at Southern Methodist University, that analyzed 34 ancient human remains scattered across the Siberian tundra. Jordan Wilkerson, Dallas News, "At 31,000 years old, two children's teeth and their ancient DNA unravel mystery of human migration," 9 July 2019 The Anchorage Daily News reports the island is an internationally known breeding habitat for millions of birds that lay eggs on rocks and tundra. USA TODAY, "Robot hostesses, veggie booze, ‘civil death’: News from around our 50 states," 4 July 2019 There’s frozen tundra in abundance. Plus, in a few decades Anchorage will have the climate of Miami and become an ideal Super Bowl site. Conor Orr, SI.com, "Which Cities Would Deserve the Newest NFL Expansion Team?," 7 June 2019 Her body was found on tundra outside of town a week later. Michelle Theriault Boots, ProPublica, "“No More Silence”: Her Kidnapping, Sexual Assault and Murder Stunned a Town, and Started a Movement," 4 June 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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Dictionary Entries near tundra





tundra swan

tundra vole


Statistics for tundra

Last Updated

14 Sep 2019

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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 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

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).


to make a temporary encampment

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