American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A vast semiarid grass-covered plain, as found in southeast Europe, Siberia, and central North America.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A more or less level tract devoid of trees: a name given to certain parts of European and Asiatic Russia, of which the most characteristic feature is the absence of forests. The word steppe was introduced into the scientific literature of western Europe by Humboldt, in whose “Ansichten der Natur”—a work widely circulated, and translated into all the most important European languages—there is a chapter entitled “Steppen und Wusten” (Steppes and Deserts). The steppe region in Europe begins on the borders of Holland, and extends through northern Germany—where such lands are called
Heiden(heaths)—into Russia in Europe, and beyond the Ural Mountains almost to the Pacific Ocean, for a distance of about 4,500 miles. Although the steppes are in general characterized by the lack of an arboreal and the presence of a grassy vegetation, and by a pretty uniformly level surface, there are many breaks in this botanical and topographical monotony, in the form of forests extending along the streams, large patches of dense and sometimes tall shrubbery, lakes (both fresh and saline), rolling hills, ridges, barren sands, and patches covered with saline efflorescence. The general character of the region is pastoral, and the population (especially of the Asiatic steppes) nomadic: but all this has been to a considerable extent interfered with by the spread of Russian civilization and the domination of Russian authority. The Russian and Siberian steppes pass southward into the deserts of central Asia, and northward into the tundra region of the extreme north. Humboldt, in the work named above, occasionally uses the term steppe in describing the pampas and llanos of South America, and the plains, prairies, and barrens of the northern division of the New World, and his example has been followed to a certain extent by other physical geographers writing in regard to America; but the word steppe is nowhere in popular use except as to places where Russian is the dominating language.
- n. In phytogeography, xerophilous grassland. This formation as met, with at high elevations is distinguished as alpine steppe.
- n. The grasslands of Eastern Europe and Asia. Similar to (US) prairie and (African) savannah.
- n. More properly, the name given vast cold, dry grass-plains.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. One of the vast plains in Southeastern Europe and in Asia, generally elevated, and free from wood, analogous to many of the prairies in Western North America. See savanna.
- n. extensive plain without trees (associated with eastern Russia and Siberia)
- 1671. From German or French, in turn from Russian степь (step’, "flat grassy plain") or Ukrainian степ (step). There is no generally accepted earlier etymology, but there is a speculative Old East Slavic reconstruction *сътепь (sъtep’), related to топот (tópot), топтать (toptát’). (Wiktionary)
- German, from Russian step'. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“With its famous black soil, the Ukrainian steppe is one of the most fertile regions in world but the legacy of Soviet collectivisation means agriculture is not as efficient as in other countries.”
“The word steppe, or step, is Russian, and not Tartarian.”
“Generally, the steppe is a transitional belt surrounding the desert and separating it from humid climates beyond.”
“The steppe was a vast plain that shone with ponds and corkscrew rivers and evoked a wistful sadness.”
“It is a great chalky plateau, and might almost be called a steppe or prairie.”
“The one major geographic feature other than the steppe are the Tien Shan mountains, a range that divides Central Asia from South Asia and China.”
“The collembolan Vertagopus brevicaudus a "steppe" species; bbizonal steppe and tundra species; cthis group characterizes the southern tundra subzone; dthis group is relatively small, but is valuable in subdividing the tundra zone into subzones.”
“The potential natural vegetation is mostly sagebrush steppe which is distinct from that of the surrounding ecoregions.”
“On the higher plateau, the vegetation comprises different steppe types depending on edaphic factors, such as steppe of Stipa tenacissima in the sides of the Atlas and glacis with argilo-sandy soils; steppe of Artemisia "Herba alba" in the glacis and depressions that are silty; steppe of Lygeum spartum which follows sandy accumulations.”
“Evidence suggests that a kind of steppe-forest with scattered trees and more extensive grasses may have once occupied much of this area, but centuries of grazing and fuel-wood collection have changed its ecological character.”
These user-created lists contain the word ‘steppe’.
Interesting, there is a traditional vocabulary of an Ukrainian, that differs from vocabulary of average American. It would be nice to explore it.
Grasses, and words about grasses.
Prairie grasses names are found in this list.
Names of medical marijuana strains can be found elsewhere.
Words describing terrain or topography of any kind. Also outdoor lingo etc.
Planetary chaos: terrain, landscape and geology excluding rocks. (See "the geologist" list for the latter.)
A mixture of words that I like or have commented on, along with ones parked here so they'd be listed somewhere or remind me of lists I want to make.
words I read but don't know
all kinds of scapes
Looking for tweets for steppe.