[ fawr-ist, for- ]
/ ˈfɔr ɪst, ˈfɒr- /
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See synonyms for: forest / forested / forests / forestlike on Thesaurus.com

a large tract of land covered with trees and underbrush; woodland.
the trees on such a tract: to cut down a forest.
a tract of wooded grounds in England formerly belonging to the sovereign and set apart for game.
a thick cluster of vertical objects: a forest of church spires.
verb (used with object)
to supply or cover with trees; convert into a forest.
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Origin of forest

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English, from Old French, from Late Latin forestis (silva) “an unenclosed wood” (as opposed to a park), derivative of Latin forīs “outside.” Cf. foreign

synonym study for forest

1. Forest, grove, wood refer to an area covered with trees. A forest is an extensive area, preserving some or all of its primitive wildness and usually having game or wild animals in it: Sherwood Forest; the Black Forest. A grove is a group or cluster of trees, usually not very large in area and cleared of underbrush. It is usually tended or cultivated: a shady grove; a grove of pines; an orange grove; a walnut grove. Woods (or a wood ) resembles a forest but is a smaller tract of land, less wild in character, and generally closer to civilization: lost in the woods; a wood covering several acres.


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does forest mean?

A forest is a large area of land that’s covered in trees. The word forest can also refer collectively to those trees.

An area that’s covered in trees can be described with the adjective forested.

Less commonly, forest can be used as a verb meaning to cover an area with trees. This sense of the word is used in the terms deforestation (the clearing of a forested area) and reforesting (planting trees in a woodland that has been deforested or destroyed by a forest fire).

Sometimes, forest is used in a figurative way to refer to a collection of vertical objects clustered together, as in Many of these new cities look like forests of skyscrapers. 

Example: We were deep in the forest, with no roads or buildings for miles.

Where does forest come from?

The first records of the word forest come from the 1200s. It comes from the first part of the Late Latin phrase forestis silva, meaning “an unenclosed wooded area” (as opposed to a park). Forestis comes from the Latin forīs, meaning “outside” (the same word is the root of the word foreign). Silva comes from the Latin word for “forest” and is the basis of the English word sylvan, which means “wooded” and can be found in the name of the U.S. state of Pennsylvania and the region known as Transylvania.

The word woods can be used as a synonym for forest, but the word forest usually implies a much bigger area, especially one considered part of the wilderness. Forests can be found throughout the world. There are several types of forests, including rainforests (found in the tropics), temperate forests (found in temperate zones, like in North America), and boreal forests (found in northern areas). In the U.S., the term national forest refers to a forested area preserved by the federal government.

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What are some other forms related to forest?

  • forested (adjective)
  • forestal (adjective)
  • forestial (adjective)
  • forestless (adjective)
  • forestlike (adjective)

What are some synonyms for forest?

What are some words that share a root or word element with forest

What are some words that often get used in discussing forest?


How is forest used in real life?

The word forest is usually used to refer to a wild and very extensive woodland.



Try using forest!

True or False? 

The word forest usually refers to a small wooded area, like a grove of trees.

How to use forest in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for forest

/ (ˈfɒrɪst) /

(tr) to create a forest (in); plant with trees

Derived forms of forest

forestal or foresteal (fəˈrɛstɪəl), adjectiveforested, adjectiveforestless, adjectiveforest-like, adjective

Word Origin for forest

C13: from Old French, from Medieval Latin forestis unfenced woodland, from Latin foris outside
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

Scientific definitions for forest

[ fôrĭst ]

A growth of trees covering a large area. Forests exist in all regions of the Earth except for regions of extreme cold or dryness.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Other Idioms and Phrases with forest


see can't see the forest for the trees.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.