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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 tree line
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • In eastern Peru the glaciers in many places extended down nearly to the tree line and in a few places well below it.

  • On the central plateau of Labrador the tree line seldom rises far above the base of the hills.

    Grit A-Plenty Dillon Wallace
  • He turned and looked at the ruins, rising pyramid-like from the tree line to the north.

    Once Upon A Planet J. J. Allerton
  • Their remarkable agility enables them to travel faster by the tree line than man can follow on foot.

  • Kitty saw him beyond the tree line, but just this side of the snows—and matched his condescension with pity!

    The Drums Of Jeopardy Harold MacGrath
  • The springs, bathing establishment, and hotel known as the Termas de Chilln are at the highest limit of the tree line.

  • “There really is no such thing as the ‘tree line’ in the Andes,” explained the old explorer.

    Secrets of the Andes

    James H. Foster
British Dictionary definitions for tree line

tree line

the zone, at high altitudes or high latitudes, beyond which no trees grow. Trees growing between the timberline and the tree line are typically stunted


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 tree line



1867, from timber + line (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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tree line in Science
tree line  
See timberline.
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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