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[tim-ber-lahyn] /ˈtɪm bərˌlaɪn/
the altitude above sea level at which timber ceases to grow.
the arctic or antarctic limit of tree growth.
Also called tree line, treeline [tree-lahyn] /ˈtriˌlaɪn/ (Show IPA).
Origin of timberline
An Americanism dating back to 1865-70; timber + line1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for timberline
Historical Examples
  • But there were trees on all the lower slopes, and there was not really a timberline.

    The Pirates of Ersatz Murray Leinster
  • A haystack sheltered against a cliff was found at timberline.

    Watched by Wild Animals Enos A. Mills
  • Already weak, they did not get down to timberline the first day.

    Watched by Wild Animals Enos A. Mills
  • The other is found here and there well up toward the edge of the timberline.

    Steep Trails John Muir
  • In another ten minutes they would be above the timberline and the full force of the storm would hit them.

    The Thirst Quenchers Rick Raphael
  • Out of the worst of the wind, they skied easily back down towards the timberline.

    The Thirst Quenchers Rick Raphael
  • Beech trees appear at all elevations between 3,000 feet and the timberline.

    Area Handbook for Albania Eugene K. Keefe
  • In this varied and extensive region old "timberline" had all the necessities of life and many of the luxuries of beardom.

    The Grizzly Enos A. Mills
  • Old timberline started down into a caon as though to descend a gully diagonally to the bottom.

    The Grizzly Enos A. Mills
  • I was so near that with my field-glasses I recognized him as “Old timberline,” a bear with two right front toes missing.

    The Grizzly Enos A. Mills
British Dictionary definitions for timberline


the altitudinal or latitudinal limit of normal tree growth See also tree line
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 timberline

1867, from timber + line (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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timberline in Science
A geographic boundary beyond which trees cannot grow. On the Earth as a whole, the timberline is the northernmost or southernmost latitude at which trees can survive; in a mountainous region, it is the highest elevation at which trees can survive. Also called tree line.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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