Know how to use "fewer" and "less"? Find out.


[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.
Also, savannah.
1545-55; earlier zavana < Spanish (now sabana) < Taino zabana Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for savannas
  • Rain forests and tundra, deserts and savannas, mountaintops and undersea reefs.
  • savannas are particularly prone to out of control prairie fires during their dry season.
  • These new mountains, by turning flat savannas to rugged foothills, may have robbed the terror birds of their habitat.
  • Untouched savannas support a wide variety of wildlife, including jaguars.
  • Its extensive landscape includes dry savannas, wetland forests and alpine environments.
  • Generally widespread and common, this species is a generalist feeding in more open areas and wooded savannas.
  • savannas exist in places that are warm throughout the year.
  • Watering points attracted huge concentrations of cattle, which quickly grazed the savannas as bald as parking lots.
  • These often semi-aquatic animals live in environments ranging from wetlands and forests to savannas and deserts.
  • Research both natural and human disturbance on savannas.
British Dictionary definitions for savannas


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
Cite This Source
savannas 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.
Cite This Source
savannas 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.
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Article for savannas


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

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for savanna

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for savannas

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for savannas