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[suh-van-uh] /səˈvæn ə/
a plain characterized by coarse grasses and scattered tree growth, especially on the margins of the tropics where the rainfall is seasonal, as in eastern Africa.
grassland region with scattered trees, grading into either open plain or woodland, usually in subtropical or tropical regions.
Origin of savanna
1545-55; earlier zavana < Spanish (now sabana) < Taino zabana Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for savanna
  • Now replace the savanna with mountains and the zebra with monkeys.
  • Baboons generally prefer savanna and other semi-arid habitats, though a few live in tropical forests.
  • Imagine that you are a zebra, grazing in the savanna.
  • It's amazing to think that such ordinary-sized animals are out there on the savanna with the big cats.
  • But someone forgot to tell these cubs, and a rare showdown ensues on the savanna.
  • Humans have caused a significant loss of the original wooded savanna habitat in this region.
  • The night before, sitting by our campfire, we'd heard distant hoof beats rumbling across the savanna.
  • Frustrated by this injustice, they'd rather imprudently torched the savanna.
  • The geography ranges from coastal beaches and forests in the south to a savanna plateau in the north.
  • After storming the north they'd sired hundreds of cubs and ruled the savanna for a dozen years.
British Dictionary definitions for savanna


open grasslands, usually with scattered bushes or trees, characteristic of much of tropical Africa
Word Origin
C16: from Spanish zavana, from Taino zabana
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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savanna in Science
savanna or savannah
A flat, grass-covered area of tropical or subtropical regions, nearly treeless in some places but generally having a mix of widely spaced trees and bushes. Savannas have distinct wet and dry seasons, with the mix of vegetation dependent primarily on the relative length of the two seasons.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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savanna in Culture

savanna definition

A tropical land mass of grassland and scattered trees.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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