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[shap-uh-ral, chap-] /ˌʃæp əˈræl, ˌtʃæp-/
noun, Southwestern U.S.
a dense growth of shrubs or small trees.
Origin of chaparral
1835-45, Americanism; < Spanish, equivalent to chaparr(o) evergreen oak (< Basque tshapar) + -al collective suffix Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for chaparral
Historical Examples
  • The puncher wheeled his horse and rode off around the chaparral.

    Out of the Depths

    Robert Ames Bennet
  • The man in the chaparral once more crept forward and climbed the fence.

    Oh, You Tex! William Macleod Raine
  • After hard fighting in the chaparral, the Mexicans were put to flight.

  • If the sheep owner had tried to break away into the chaparral.

    Crooked Trails and Straight William MacLeod Raine
  • The chaparral being on a little rise, one could not see beyond it.

    Across the Mesa Jarvis Hall
  • The bailes out at the Quemado; weddings far out in the chaparral.

  • As we emerged from the chaparral, Morgan was but a few yards in advance.

    The Damned Thing Ambrose Bierce
  • The whole troop then scampered off into the chaparral and disappeared.

    The Rifle Rangers Captain Mayne Reid
  • The chaparral was dark and silent, and these returned after a fruitless search.

    The Rifle Rangers Captain Mayne Reid
  • When you come near the camp, leave your horse in the chaparral.

    The Rifle Rangers Captain Mayne Reid
British Dictionary definitions for chaparral


/ˌtʃæpəˈræl; ˌʃæp-/
(in the southwestern US) a dense growth of shrubs and trees, esp evergreen oaks
Word Origin
C19: from Spanish, from chaparra evergreen oak
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for chaparral

"shrub thicket," 1850, American English, from Spanish chaparro "evergreen oak," perhaps from Basque txapar "little thicket," diminutive of sapar "heath, thicket."

In Spain, a chaparral is a bush of a species of oak. The termination al signifies a place abounding in; as, chaparral, a place of oak-bushes, almendral, an almond orchard; parral, a vineyard; cafetal, a coffee plantation, etc., etc.

This word, chaparral, has been introduced into the language since our acquisition of Texas and New Mexico, where these bushes abound. It is a series of thickets, of various sizes, from one hundred yards to a mile through, with bushes and briars, all covered with thorns, and so closely entwined together as almost to prevent the passage of any thing larger than a wolf or hare. [John Russell Bartlett, "Dictionary of Americanisms," 1859]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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