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prairie

[prair-ee]
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noun
  1. 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.
  2. a tract of grassland; meadow.
  3. (in Florida) a low, sandy tract of grassland often covered with water.
  4. Southern U.S. wet grassland; marsh.
  5. (initial capital letter) a steam locomotive having a two-wheeled front truck, six driving wheels, and a two-wheeled rear truck.
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Origin of prairie

1675–85; < French: meadow < Vulgar Latin *prātāria, equivalent to Latin prāt(um) meadow + -āria, feminine of -ārius -ary
Related formsprai·rie·like, adjective

Prairie, The

noun
  1. a historical novel (1827) by James Fenimore Cooper.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

meadow, pasture, plain, steppe, savanna, veldt, pasturage

Examples from the Web for prairie

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British Dictionary definitions for prairie

prairie

noun
  1. (often plural) a treeless grassy plain of the central US and S CanadaCompare pampas, steppe, savanna
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Word Origin

C18: from French, from Old French praierie, from Latin prātum meadow
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 prairie

n.

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."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

prairie in Science

prairie

[prârē]
  1. An extensive area of flat or rolling grassland, especially the large plain of central North America.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.