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Word of the Day
Saturday, March 10, 2018

Definitions for krummholz

  1. a forest of stunted trees near the timber line on a mountain.

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Citations for krummholz
A few miles away bare scree-covered slopes protruded from the gnarled krummholz, marking the trail's maximum height. Annie Proulx, "Testimony of the Donkey," Fine Just the Way It Is, 2008
I should point out that nowhere are the wabi and sabi palettes of time acting on nature more visible than in the krummholz--the "elfin timber," gnarled and twisted little trees at treeline that might be a thousand years old ... Dan Simmons, “Introduction to ‘Looking for Kelly Dahl,’” Worlds Enough & Time, 2002
Origin of krummholz
1900-1905
The German noun Krummholz, literally “crooked wood,” means “a forest of stunted trees near the timber line; elfinwood.” The German adjective krumm “bent, crooked, warped, stooping, devious” is related to British dialectal words crump “bent, crooked” and crumpback (also crump-back) “hunchback.” The German noun Holz “wood” is related to English holt and Old Norse holt. The Germanic nouns derive from Proto-Germanic hulto-, from keld-, an extended form of the Proto-Indo-European root kel- “to cut, hit.” Keld- is the source of Greek kládos “twig, branch, shoot” (and the English taxonomic term clade), and Slavic (Polish) kłoda “log." Krummholz entered English in the early 20th century.