from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An extensive flat or rolling area dominated by grasses, especially the grasslands that once covered much of central North America.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A meadow; level grassy land: a word frequently used by Hennepin and other French writers in describing the country adjacent to the Mississippi river, and now in common use, designating the level or slightly undulating treeless areas which cover a large part of Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, and other States further south.
  • noun Any small open space in a forest. See the extract.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun An extensive tract of level or rolling land, destitute of trees, covered with coarse grass, and usually characterized by a deep, fertile soil. They abound throughout the Mississippi valley, between the Alleghanies and the Rocky mountains.
  • noun A meadow or tract of grass; especially, a so called natural meadow.
  • noun (Zoöl.) any American grouse of the genus Tympanuchus, especially Tympanuchus Americanus (formerly Tympanuchus cupido), which inhabits the prairies of the central United States. Applied also to the sharp-tailed grouse.
  • noun (Bot.) any plant of the leguminous genus Petalostemon, having small rosy or white flowers in dense terminal heads or spikes. Several species occur in the prairies of the United States.
  • noun (Bot.) a coarse composite plant (Silphium terebinthaceum) with large rough leaves and yellow flowers, found in the Western prairies.
  • noun (Zoöl.) a small American rodent (Cynomys Ludovicianus) allied to the marmots. It inhabits the plains west of the Mississippi. The prairie dogs burrow in the ground in large warrens, and have a sharp bark like that of a dog. Called also prairie marmot.
  • noun Same as Prairie chicken, above.
  • noun (Zoöl.) a large long-eared Western hare (Lepus campestris). See Jack rabbit, under 2d Jack.
  • noun (Zoöl.) a falcon of Western North America (Falco Mexicanus). The upper parts are brown. The tail has transverse bands of white; the under parts, longitudinal streaks and spots of brown.
  • noun (Zoöl.) Same as Prairie chicken, above.
  • noun (Med.) an affection of the skin attended with intense itching, which is observed in the Northern and Western United States; -- also called swamp itch, winter itch.
  • noun (Zoöl.) Same as Prairie dog, above.
  • noun (Zoöl.) a large American mole (Scalops argentatus), native of the Western prairies.
  • noun (Zoöl.) the upland plover. See Plover, n., 2.
  • noun (Zoöl.) the massasauga.
  • noun (Zoöl.) a large harmless American snake (Masticophis flavigularis). It is pale yellow, tinged with brown above.
  • noun (Zoöl.) any American ground squirrel of the genus Spermophilus, inhabiting prairies; -- called also gopher.
  • noun (Bot.) the edible turnip-shaped farinaceous root of a leguminous plant (Psoralea esculenta) of the Upper Missouri region; also, the plant itself. Called also pomme blanche, and pomme de prairie.
  • noun (Zoöl.) a bright-colored American warbler (Dendroica discolor). The back is olive yellow, with a group of reddish spots in the middle; the under parts and the parts around the eyes are bright yellow; the sides of the throat and spots along the sides, black; three outer tail feathers partly white.
  • noun (Zoöl.) See Coyote.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun an extensive area of relatively flat grassland with few, if any, trees, especially in North America

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

  • noun a treeless grassy plain


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

[French, from Old French praierie, from Vulgar Latin *prātāria, from Latin prāta, meadow.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French prairie.



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  • Lots of stotting and pronking going on out on the prairie. Be there or be square. See free-associate.

    February 12, 2008