• synonyms


[sem-ee-ar-id, sem-ahy-]
adjective (of a region, land, etc.)
  1. characterized by very little annual rainfall, usually from 10 to 20 inches (25 to 50 cm): the struggle to raise vegetables in semiarid regions.
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Origin of semiarid

An Americanism dating back to 1895–1900; semi- + arid
Related formssem·i·a·rid·ity [sem-ee-uh-rid-i-tee, sem-ahy-] /ˌsɛm i əˈrɪd ɪ ti, ˌsɛm aɪ-/, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for semi-arid

Historical Examples of semi-arid

  • It tells the story of the semi-arid region where it was born.

    Indian Story and Song

    Alice C. Fletcher

  • In semi-arid regions, between 1000 and 2500 feet, a water-rent of 1, 10s.

  • Alfalfa is grown extensively in the semi-arid regions of the country.

    The First Book of Farming

    Charles L. Goodrich

  • The semi-arid Plains of Tehuantepec apparently limit the distribution to the east.

  • The digger pine is a western California tree of the semi-arid foothill country.

    Trees Worth Knowing

    Julia Ellen Rogers

British Dictionary definitions for semi-arid


  1. characterized by scanty rainfall and scrubby vegetation, often occurring in continental interiorsthe semiarid regions of Australia
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Derived Formssemiaridity, noun
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 semi-arid


also semiarid, 1886, from semi- + arid.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

semi-arid in Science


  1. Having low precipitation but able to support grassland and scrubby vegetation. Steppes have semiarid climates.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.