• synonyms


[suh-har-uh, -hair-uh, -hahr-uh]
  1. a desert in N Africa, extending from the Atlantic to the Nile valley. About 3,500,000 sq. mi. (9,065,000 sq. km).
  2. any arid waste.
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Related formsSa·har·an, Sa·har·i·an, adjectivetrans-Sa·har·a, adjectivetrans-Sa·har·an, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for trans-saharan

Historical Examples

  • In the passages, too, there had been a deal of talk about the famous Trans-Saharan project.

    The Three Cities Trilogy, Complete

    Emile Zola

  • To this fact the projected Trans-Saharan line is the strongest witness.

British Dictionary definitions for trans-saharan


  1. a desert in N Africa, extending from the Atlantic to the Red Sea and from the Mediterranean to central Mali, Niger, Chad, and the Sudan: the largest desert in the world, occupying over a quarter of Africa; rises to over 3300 m (11 000 ft) in the central mountain system of the Ahaggar and Tibesti massifs; large reserves of iron ore, oil, and natural gas. Area: 9 100 000 sq km (3 500 000 sq miles). Average annual rainfall: less than 254 mm (10 in.). Highest recorded temperature: 58°C (136.4°F)
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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 trans-saharan


1610s, from Arabic çahra "desert" (plural çahara), according to Klein, noun use of fem. of the adjective asharu "yellowish red." Related: Saharan.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

trans-saharan in Culture


Desert in northern Africa.

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At approximately 3.5 million square miles, it is the world's largest desert.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.