variants or veldt
: a grassland especially of southern Africa usually with scattered shrubs or trees

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Veld (also spelled veldt) comes from Afrikaans, the language of the Afrikaners, the descendants of the Dutch and Huguenot people who settled in southern Africa in the 17th century. Literally, veld means "field," and is akin to feld, the Old English predecessor of field. English speakers adopted the Africa-specific sense of veld in the 18th century. Veld refers to open country in southern Africa. Different regions of the veld are distinguished by their elevations. There is the Highveld, the Lowveld, and the Middle Veld, each with different geographical characteristics. Another term associated with veld is kopje (or koppie). This word came to English from Afrikaans (and ultimately from a Dutch word meaning "small head" or "cup") and refers to a small hill, particularly one on the African veld.

Examples of veld in a Sentence

lions prowling the African veld
Recent Examples on the Web The Rovos line in all its splendor—a vision of green and white carriages that draws the eye across the yellow veld—owes its existence to the foresight of South African Rohan Vos, who, back in 1989, took the business from unlikely dream to realization. Caitlin Morton, Condé Nast Traveler, 24 Oct. 2023 Working with local landscape architect Dawid Klopper, the couple removed most of the non-native foliage and replaced it with indigenous plants more typical of South Africa’s veld, or grassland, like aloes and red grass. Ingrid Abramovitch, ELLE Decor, 5 Jan. 2021 There is still plenty of grassland here, or veld, as South Africans call it. David McKenzie, CNN, 6 Mar. 2020 The veld looked like the giant desiccated hide of some ancient creature, skinned and scarred and skeletal. Stanley Stewart, Condé Nast Traveler, 21 Dec. 2018 Early in the play, Piet says of the plants: That veld is a hard world. Christopher Arnott,, 29 May 2018 Only 20 feet separated my truck from the king of the veld. charlotteobserver, 27 Oct. 2017 The giraffe now appeared to be part of a surreal painting, running across a purplish veld beneath a red sky. Richard Sandomir, New York Times, 22 Sep. 2017 But while giraffes, zebras, elephants, lions, baboons and warthogs stalk, clamber and strut across the veld, the one thing tourists and hunters will rarely see on a South African safari is a black South African. Nina Burleigh, Newsweek, 8 Aug. 2017 See More

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

Word History


borrowed from Afrikaans veld, going back to Middle Dutch velt "field," going back to Germanic felþa- — more at field entry 1

First Known Use

1785, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of veld was in 1785


Dictionary Entries Near veld

Cite this Entry

“Veld.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


variants or veldt
: an area of grassy land with few trees or shrubs especially in southern Africa

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