• synonyms


[shap-uh-ral, chap-]
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noun Southwestern U.S.
  1. a dense growth of shrubs or small trees.
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Origin of chaparral

1835–45, Americanism; < Spanish, equivalent to chaparr(o) evergreen oak (< Basque tshapar) + -al collective suffix
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for chaparral

wasteland, wood, forest, thicket, scrub, underbrush, clump, web, undergrowth, labyrinth, zoo, bush, maze, tangle, morass, chaparral, shrubbery, grove, cover, coppice

Examples from the Web for chaparral

Historical Examples of chaparral

  • The puncher wheeled his horse and rode off around the chaparral.

    Out of the Depths

    Robert Ames Bennet

  • The man in the chaparral once more crept forward and climbed the fence.

    Oh, You Tex!

    William Macleod Raine

  • After hard fighting in the chaparral, the Mexicans were put to flight.

  • If the sheep owner had tried to break away into the chaparral.

    Crooked Trails and Straight

    William MacLeod Raine

  • The chaparral being on a little rise, one could not see beyond it.

    Across the Mesa

    Jarvis Hall

British Dictionary definitions for chaparral


  1. (in the southwestern US) a dense growth of shrubs and trees, esp evergreen oaks
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Word Origin for chaparral

C19: from Spanish, from chaparra evergreen oak
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 chaparral


"shrub thicket," 1850, American English, from Spanish chaparro "evergreen oak," perhaps from Basque txapar "little thicket," diminutive of sapar "heath, thicket."

In Spain, a chaparral is a bush of a species of oak. The termination al signifies a place abounding in; as, chaparral, a place of oak-bushes, almendral, an almond orchard; parral, a vineyard; cafetal, a coffee plantation, etc., etc.

This word, chaparral, has been introduced into the language since our acquisition of Texas and New Mexico, where these bushes abound. It is a series of thickets, of various sizes, from one hundred yards to a mile through, with bushes and briars, all covered with thorns, and so closely entwined together as almost to prevent the passage of any thing larger than a wolf or hare. [John Russell Bartlett, "Dictionary of Americanisms," 1859]
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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper