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.
Also, savannah.

1545–55; earlier zavana < Spanish (now sabana) < Taino zabana Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To savanna
World English Dictionary
savanna or savannah (səˈvænə)
open grasslands, usually with scattered bushes or trees, characteristic of much of tropical Africa
[C16: from Spanish zavana, from Taino zabana]
savannah or savannah
[C16: from Spanish zavana, from Taino zabana]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Science Dictionary
savanna or savannah   (sə-vān'ə)  Pronunciation Key 
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.
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

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.
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Britannica


vegetation type that grows under hot, seasonally dry climatic conditions and is characterized by an open tree canopy (i.e., scattered trees) above a continuous tall grass understory. The largest areas of savanna are found in Africa, South America, Australia, India, the Myanmar-Thailand region, and Madagascar. Their distribution is shown in

Learn more about savanna with a free trial on

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
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.
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature