[ wet-land ]
See synonyms for: wetlandwetlands on Thesaurus.com

  1. Often wetlands. land that has a wet and spongy soil, as a marsh, swamp, or bog.

Origin of wetland

First recorded in 1770–80; wet + -land

Words Nearby wetland

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use wetland in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for wetland


/ (ˈwɛtlənd) /

  1. (sometimes plural)

    • an area of swampy or marshy land, esp considered as part of an ecological system

    • (as modifier): wetland species

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 wetland


[ wĕtlănd′ ]

  1. A low-lying area of land that is saturated with moisture, especially when regarded as the natural habitat of wildlife. Marshes, swamps, and bogs are examples of wetlands. See more at lacustrine marine palustrine riverine.

a closer look

Wetlands are areas such as swamps, bogs, and marshes where water either covers the soil or is present at or near the surface, particularly in the root zone, at least a good portion of the year, including the growing season. In the past, wetlands were generally considered unproductive or undesirable lands-smelly and unhealthful, a breeding ground for mosquitoes and other pests-and many were filled in to create farmland or to develop land for housing and industrial use. More than half of the original wetlands in the continental United States have disappeared in the name of reclamation, disease prevention, and flood control. Scientists now realize that, far from being noxious barrens, wetlands play a key role in the ecosystem. They act as filters, removing pollutants, including metals, from waters. They serve as reservoirs, and they aid flood and erosion control by absorbing excess water. Wetlands are home to a great variety of plant and animal species, some endangered, that have evolved to live in the wetland's unique conditions. The preservation and, where possible, restoration of these vital habitats has become a primary goal of environmentalists around the world.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.