co·​ni·​fer ˈkä-nə-fər How to pronounce conifer (audio)
 also  ˈkō-
: any of an order (Coniferales) of mostly evergreen trees and shrubs having usually needle-shaped or scalelike leaves and including forms (such as pines) with true cones and others (such as yews) with an arillate fruit
coniferous adjective

Did you know?

Any of an order of trees and shrubs, conifers usually have usually needle-shaped or scale-like leaves. Conifers include forms (such as pines) with true cones and others (such as yews) that bear a fruit. There are more than 550 species of conifers, and most are evergreen trees and shrubs. They grow throughout the world (except in Antarctica) and prefer temperate climate zones. They include the world's smallest and tallest trees. Conifers supply softwood timber used for general construction, boxes and crates, and other articles, as well as pulpwood for paper. The wood is also used as fuel and in the manufacture of cellulose products, plywood, and veneers. The trees are the source of resins, oils, turpentine, tars, and pharmaceuticals.

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Insulate tender perennials like roses, clematis and dahlias with mulch, compost, leaves, conifer branches or any kind of organic matter that will protect root systems. oregonlive, 23 Feb. 2023 These remnants face many threats—from deer, sheep, encroachment of non-native rhododendrons or conifer plantation, air pollution etc.—but increasingly, work is being done to protect them. Elizabeth Waddington, Treehugger, 8 Feb. 2023 Almost 40 million years ago a flower bloomed in a Baltic conifer forest. Katie Hunt, CNN, 12 Jan. 2023 The fossil’s long saga likely began between 34 and 38 million years ago, during the late Eocene, when a blob of sticky resin oozed out of a conifer tree near the Baltic Sea in what is now Russia. Sarah Kuta, Smithsonian Magazine, 13 Jan. 2023 Winter grouse spend a good deal of time in thick conifer cover that offers protection from cold winds and typically less snow at ground level. Tom Davis, Field & Stream, 10 Jan. 2023 If that’s the case, don’t be afraid to strategically rotate your conifer toward a wall. Anna Fixsen, ELLE Decor, 2 Dec. 2022 That enrichment promoted flowering plants over their conifer cousins. Erik Klemetti, Discover Magazine, 29 Dec. 2021 Old-growth conifer and mature forest, steep terrain and fast-moving streams characterize this unique ecosystem, which is home to black bears, bobcats, mountain lions, elk, rainbow trout and other animal species. Discover Magazine, 2 June 2017 See More

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

Word History


ultimately from Latin conifer cone-bearing, from conus cone + -fer

First Known Use

circa 1841, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of conifer was circa 1841

Dictionary Entries Near conifer

Cite this Entry

“Conifer.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


 also  ˈkō-nə-
: any of an order of mostly evergreen trees and shrubs having leaves resembling needles or scales in shape and including forms (as pines) with true cones

More from Merriam-Webster on conifer

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

Which Came First?

  • baby chick with a brown egg
  • hot take or cold shoulder?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?