[ plahy-uh ]
/ ˈplaɪ ə /


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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Examples from the Web for playa

British Dictionary definitions for playa

/ (ˈplɑːjə, Spanish ˈplaja) /


(in the US) a temporary lake, or its dry often salty bed, in a desert basin

Word Origin for playa

Spanish: shore, from Late Latin plagia, from Greek plagios slanting, from plagos side; compare French plage beach
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 playa

[ plīə ]

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.