• synonyms


[dee-fawr-ist, -for-]
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verb (used with object)
  1. to divest or clear of forests or trees: Poor planning deforested the area in ten years.
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Origin of deforest

First recorded in 1530–40; de- + forest
Related formsde·for·est·a·tion, nounde·for·est·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for deforestation


  1. (tr) to clear of treesAlso: disforest
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Derived Formsdeforestation, noundeforester, noun
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 deforestation


1884, from deforest + -ation. Earlier was deforesting (1530s) which was a legal term for the change in definition of a parcel of land from "forest" to something else.

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1880 in modern sense, from de- + forest. Related: Deforested; deforesting. Disforest in the sense "to clear of trees" is from 1660s. Disafforest is attested in this sense from 1842; originally it meant "reduce from the legal status of a forest" (1590s).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

deforestation in Science


  1. The cutting down and removal of all or most of the trees in a forested area. Deforestation can erode soils, contribute to desertification and the pollution of waterways, and decrease biodiversity through the destruction of habitat.
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  1. American electrical engineer and inventor who is known as "the father of radio." He patented more than 300 inventions, including the triode electron tube, which made it possible to amplify and detect radio waves.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

deforestation in Culture



The process of destroying a forest and replacing it with something else. The term is used today to refer to the destruction of forests by human beings and their replacement by agricultural systems.

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Deforestation is considered to be a main contributor to the greenhouse effect.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.