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Word of the Day
Sunday, October 02, 2016

Definitions for understory

  1. the shrubs and plants growing beneath the main canopy of a forest.

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Citations for understory
Outside, in the rambling estate with its green canopies and wandering animals, its replanted indigenous understory and its old enclosures now becoming overgrown, the birds and the ground dwellers were settling to roost and sleep as they did every night when the light dimmed to a dusky blue and the earth began to cool. Paddy O'Reilly, The Wonders, 2015
With the birds gone, the insects had bred out, with the attendant result that the spiders ... had experienced a population explosion, draping understory and canopy alike with the great trembling tents of their webs so that it was impossible to move through the jungle without having the stuff cling to you like a second skin. T. C. Boyle, When the Killing's Done, 2011
Origin of understory
The second element of understory, story, comes from the Anglo-Latin noun historia meaning "picture decorating a building, a part of the building so decorated," hence "floor, story." The sense of story meaning "an upper or lower layer of vegetation" dates to the 1880s. It entered English in the early 1900s.