- an extensive, level or slightly undulating, mostly treeless tract of land in the Mississippi valley, characterized by a highly fertile soil and originally covered with coarse grasses, and merging into drier plateaus in the west.Compare pampas, savanna, steppe.
- a tract of grassland; meadow.
- (in Florida) a low, sandy tract of grassland often covered with water.
- Southern U.S. wet grassland; marsh.
- (initial capital letter) a steam locomotive having a two-wheeled front truck, six driving wheels, and a two-wheeled rear truck.
Origin of prairie
- a historical novel (1827) by James Fenimore Cooper.
Examples from the Web for prairie
He stands, one assumes on a porch, which overlooks a prairie.Huckabee 2016: Bend Over and Take It Like a Prisoner!
January 8, 2015
One year later and 10 blocks away, my mother came into the world, the granddaughter of those pioneers who had roamed the prairie.Those Kansas City Blues: A Family History
October 24, 2014
There, abandoned “ghost towns” populate the prairie fields and deserts, serving as a reminder of a not-so-distant past.The Ghost Towns of Arizona Live On
July 10, 2014
Because there is always this about the land, about prairie and pond and mountain: they never go away.The Death of a Rodeo Cowboy
May 11, 2014
But this hardscrabble, prairie town, with its population of 5,000 people, cast its charm on Ballantine.Death in the Heartland: What Happened to Steven Haataja?
March 16, 2014
He was clad in a civilian costume, which pronouncedly smacked of the prairie.
Her eyes took him in from his prairie hat to his well-booted feet.
Stanley Fyles was as nearly a perfect horseman as the prairie could produce.
He is a zoological fact, with his parallel in every herd of prairie dogs.Shelley, Godwin and Their Circle
H. N. Brailsford
Do you know what it means to live alone ten miles out on the prairie?A Breath of Prairie and other stories
Word Origin and History for prairie
tract of level or undulating grassland in North America, by 1773, from French prairie "meadow, grassland," from Old French praerie "meadow, pastureland" (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *prataria, from Latin pratum "meadow," originally "a hollow." The word existed in Middle English as prayere, but was lost and reborrowed to describe the American plains. Prairie dog is attested from 1774; prairie schooner "immigrant's wagon" is from 1841. Illinois has been the Prairie State since at least 1861. In Latin, Neptunia prata was poetic for "the sea."
- An extensive area of flat or rolling grassland, especially the large plain of central North America.