un·​der·​sto·​ry ˈən-dər-ˌstȯr-ē How to pronounce understory (audio)
: an underlying layer of vegetation
specifically : the vegetative layer and especially the trees and shrubs between the forest canopy and the ground cover
: the plants that form the understory

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The deer weaved through a tangle of understory and vanished from sight. Paul A. Smith, Journal Sentinel, 17 Nov. 2022 Hike the Big Beech Woods, an old-growth forest of mossy logs and understory trees and centuries-old canopies. The Courier-Journal, 28 Sep. 2022 It’s in the sandy crossings where the willows make their best showings, drawn out in linear clusters that drape over an understory of colorful wildflowers. Mare Czinar, The Arizona Republic, 15 Sep. 2022 Its glowing red eyes peered from the understory in Olympic National Forest in Washington. Leah Sottile, Outside Online, 5 July 2016 The Moose Fire on Tuesday grew to nearly 60 square miles burning grass, timber understory and dead and down material in the Salmon-Challis National Forest. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 28 July 2022 Fern fanned out in the understory, along with canelo trees, bamboo, and tall, slender alerce, for which this park is named. New York Times, 27 July 2022 The camp is structured around improvised shelters, with places designated for cooking, working, fixing and building things and trails between smaller satellite dwellings, little neighborhoods amid the forest understory. Emily Goodykoontz, Anchorage Daily News, 24 June 2022 And their size — and the size of everything around them, like jumbo-sized ferns in the understory — can mess with your sense of scale. Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times, 30 June 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'understory.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

1902, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of understory was in 1902

Dictionary Entries Near understory

Cite this Entry

“Understory.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/understory. Accessed 1 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition



un·​der·​sto·​ry ˈən-dər-ˌstōr-ē How to pronounce understory (audio)
: the layer of plants and especially the trees and shrubs between the forest canopy and the ground cover

More from Merriam-Webster on understory

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