9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[prair-ee] /ˈprɛər i/
an extensive, level or slightly undulating, mostly treeless tract of land in the Mississippi valley, characterized by a highly fertile soil and originally covered with coarse grasses, and merging into drier plateaus in the west.
Compare pampas, savanna, steppe.
a tract of grassland; meadow.
(in Florida) a low, sandy tract of grassland often covered with water.
Southern U.S. wet grassland; marsh.
(initial capital letter) a steam locomotive having a two-wheeled front truck, six driving wheels, and a two-wheeled rear truck.
Origin of prairie
1675-85; < French: meadow < Vulgar Latin *prātāria, equivalent to Latin prāt(um) meadow + -āria, feminine of -ārius -ary
Related forms
prairielike, adjective

Prairie, The

a historical novel (1827) by James Fenimore Cooper. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for prairie
  • It's impossible to run out into the academic prairie all by yourself.
  • In this lesson, students learn about the conflicts relating to humans and wildlife in prairie habitats.
  • State governors fail to back a federal program to preserve and protect native prairie.
  • The landscape is slowly becoming more open and green, the prairie reappearing from beneath the plant.
  • In this lesson, students will learn about the characteristics of prairie habitats.
  • Stimulating a plankton bloom is the equivalent of fertilizing a prairie.
  • Researchers work to decode a complex language of chirps and squeaks that prairie dogs use to warn each other of predators.
  • Print detailed illustrations of prairie dogs and other animals to color or use in school projects.
  • prairie voles in monogamous relationships respond less to drugs.
  • They came over the prairie in their pickup trucks, in the cool, quiet hours before dawn.
British Dictionary definitions for prairie


(often pl) a treeless grassy plain of the central US and S Canada Compare pampas, steppe, savanna
Word Origin
C18: from French, from Old French praierie, from Latin prātum meadow
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
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Word Origin and History for prairie

tract of level or undulating grassland in North America, by 1773, from French prairie "meadow, grassland," from Old French praerie "meadow, pastureland" (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *prataria, from Latin pratum "meadow," originally "a hollow." The word existed in Middle English as prayere, but was lost and reborrowed to describe the American plains. Prairie dog is attested from 1774; prairie schooner "immigrant's wagon" is from 1841. Illinois has been the Prairie State since at least 1861. In Latin, Neptunia prata was poetic for "the sea."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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prairie in Science
An extensive area of flat or rolling grassland, especially the large plain of central North America.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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