from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Ecology A biome characterized by hot dry summers and cool moist winters and dominated by a dense growth of mostly small-leaved evergreen shrubs, as that found in the foothills of California.
  • n. A dense thicket of shrubs and small trees.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A region of shrubs, typically dry in the summer and rainy in the winter. The coast of the Mediterranean is such a region.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A thicket of low evergreen oaks.
  • n. An almost impenetrable thicket or succession of thickets of thorny shrubs and brambles.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A close growth, more or less extensive, of low evergreen oaks.
  • n. Any very dense thicket of low thorny shrubs which exclusively occupy the ground; sometimes, a thick growth of cacti.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. dense vegetation consisting of stunted trees or bushes


Spanish, from chaparro, evergreen oak, from Basque txapar, diminutive of saphar, thicket.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Spanish chaparral, from chaparro + -al, from Basque txaparro, from txapar, from saphar. (Wiktionary)



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  • Hahaha! Okay. I get it now.

    March 19, 2011

  • Here, ruzuzu, try this link. I guarantee you will never hear the word "chaparral" the same way again. :-)

    March 19, 2011

  • I can't get pterodactyl's link to work. :-(

    March 18, 2011

  • Missed by nine people at the 2011 county spelling bee!

    March 18, 2011

  • Citation on arroyo.

    August 26, 2008

  • Every time I hear this word, I remember a piece of music, with a very particular rhythm:

    "Chaparral!" (pause, pause, pause)

    "Chaparral!" (pause, pause, pause)

    Until today, I had no idea why this was. I mean, who would write a song about Californian shrubbery? But now, I've figured it out. It's a distorted relic of my childhood, and you can view it here, if you've no aversion to bagpipes.

    July 5, 2008