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or Karroo

[kuh-roo] /kəˈru/
noun, plural karoos for 2.
a vast plateau in the Republic of South Africa, in Cape of Good Hope province. 100,000 sq. mi. (260,000 sq. km); 3000–4000 feet (900–1200 meters) above sea level.
(lowercase) an arid South African tableland with red clay soil.
Origin of Karoo
< Afrikaans kar(r)oo < Khoikhoi; compare Xhaeruh, Phaeruh place name recorded in 1689, Nama garo parched, dry, arid, !garo-b desolate waste Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for Karoo
Historical Examples
  • The stretches of the Karoo are past, and breakfast at De Aar is in sight.

    The Siege of Mafeking (1900) J. Angus Hamilton.
  • We will swap the veldt and the parched Karoo,For the plain and ranges clear.

    War's Brighter Side Julian Ralph.
  • We wish our father hadn't brought us to town, and we were out on the Karoo.

    The Story of an African Farm (AKA Ralph Iron) Olive Schreiner
  • To be reduced to dependence on Karoo grass was a sad fate for the poor quadrupeds.

  • Travelling, even with the variety of emotion which the Karoo excites, is no great comfort in South Africa.

    The Siege of Mafeking (1900) J. Angus Hamilton.
  • Adding to their spectral appearance were the long, withered grass-tufts and Karoo bushes, white as if coated with hoar frost.

    The Vee-Boers Mayne Reid
  • On the Karoo, just crossed, wild animals were so scarce and shy, that with all the skill of their hunters the larder had run low.

    The Vee-Boers Mayne Reid
  • Such a picture is often presented upon the Karoo plains of Southern Africa.

    The Young Yagers Mayne Reid
  • Not strange, then, their travelling by night, as by day; for it was life or death to them to get across the Karoo.

    The Vee-Boers Mayne Reid
  • For in their thoughts, also, was the Karoo they had lately crossed with so much difficulty and danger.

    The Vee-Boers Mayne Reid
British Dictionary definitions for Karoo


noun (often not capital) (pl) -roos
any of several high arid plateaus in South Africa, esp the Central Karoo and the Little Karoo. The highveld, north of the Central Karoo, is sometimes called the Northern Karoo
a period or rock system in Southern Africa equivalent to the period or system extending from the Upper Carboniferous to the Lower Jurassic: divided into Lower and Upper Karoo
of, denoting, or formed in the Karoo period
Word Origin
C18: from Afrikaans karo, probably from Khoikhoi garo desert
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 Karoo



"barren table land in South Africa," 1789, said to be from a Hottentot word.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Karoo in Science
karoo also karroo
A semiarid plateau. The most well-known karoos cover nearly 400,000 sq km (156,000 sq mi) of southern Africa. Karoos are terrace shaped and characterized by low scrub vegetation.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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