[bawr-ee-uh l, bohr‐]


of or relating to the north wind.
of or relating to the north.
(sometimes initial capital letter) pertaining to Boreas.

Origin of boreal

1425–75; late Middle English boriall < Late Latin boreālis northern (Latin bore(ās) Boreas + -ālis -al1) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for boreal

arctic, freezing, frosty, glacial, icy, polar

Examples from the Web for boreal

Historical Examples of boreal

  • It blew him as a blade of grass is blown in a boreal blast; yet he sensed the pitch.


    James Huneker

  • This corner was precisely the boreal lands and seas of North America.

  • The snows of boreal affection did not wither or fade his eternal spring.

    In Our Town

    William Allen White

  • I had begun to observe this as I approached the boreal center.

    My Attainment of the Pole

    Frederick A. Cook

  • Something must be done to lift the soul out of the boreal bleach.

    My Attainment of the Pole

    Frederick A. Cook

British Dictionary definitions for boreal



of or relating to the north or the north wind

Word Origin for boreal

C15: from Latin boreās the north wind



of or denoting the coniferous forests in the north of the N hemisphere
designating a climatic zone having snowy winters and short summers
designating a dry climatic period from about 7500 to 5500 bc, characterized by cold winters, warm summers, and a flora dominated by pines and hazels
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

Word Origin and History for boreal

"northern," late 15c., from Latin borealis, from boreas "north wind," from Greek Boreas, name of the god of the north wind, of unknown origin, perhaps related to words in Balto-Slavic for "mountain" and "forest."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

boreal in Science



Relating to the north or to northern areas.
Relating to the north wind.
Relating to the forest areas of the Northern Temperate Zone that are dominated by coniferous trees such as spruce, fir, and pine.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.