- Western U.S. the sandy, salty, or mud-caked flat floor of a desert basin having interior drainage, usually occupied by a shallow lake during or after prolonged, heavy rains.
Compare dry lake.
Origin of playa
1850–55, Americanism; < Spanish: shore < Late Latin plagia; see plage
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for playa
Whale watchers—a popular activity in the first three months of the year—can check out Playa la Cachora.
The town is located just near Playa Pescadero, near the tiny town of El Pescardo.
To truly get off the grid, Playa Cerritos is just a few miles up the road on Highway 19.
This famous engagement was thenceforth known as the Battle of Playa Honda.The Philippine Islands
"Maka him grow an' dance an' playa fid, lika yo' bear," he said, sullenly.The Arkansaw Bear
Albert Bigelow Paine
My woman say no coulda do thatta if playa all day on bricka walks.Gadsby
Ernest Vincent Wright
I ascended one, and we proceeded slowly along the Playa or strand.The Bible in Spain
Russell used to pay me a regular visit to the Fonda de la Playa.Romantic Spain
John Augustus O'Shea
- (in the US) a temporary lake, or its dry often salty bed, in a desert basin
Spanish: shore, from Late Latin plagia, from Greek plagios slanting, from plagos side; compare French plage beach
- A dry lake bed at the bottom of a desert basin, sometimes temporarily covered with water. Playas have no vegetation and are among the flattest geographical features in the world. Also called sink
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.