a tract of land, especially as considered with reference to its natural features, military advantages, etc.
Geology, terrane.

1720–30; < FrenchVulgar Latin *terrānum, noun use of neuter of *terrānus of land. See terra, -an

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World English Dictionary
terrain (təˈreɪn, ˈtɛreɪn)
1.  ground or a piece of ground, esp with reference to its physical character or military potential: radio reception can be difficult in mountainous terrain; a rocky terrain
2.  a variant spelling of terrane
[C18: from French, ultimately from Latin terrēnum ground, from terra earth]

terrane or terrain (ˈtɛreɪn)
1.  a series of rock formations, esp one having a prevalent type of rock
2.  an allochthonous, fault-bounded section of the earth's crust
[C19: see terrain]
terrain or terrain
[C19: see terrain]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

1727, "ground for training horses," from Fr. terrain "piece of earth, ground, land," from O.Fr. (12c.), from V.L. *terranum, from L. terrenum "land, ground," from neut. of terrenus "of earth, earthly," from terra "earth, land," lit. "dry land" (as opposed to "sea"); from PIE base *ters- "to dry" (cf.
Skt. tarsayati "dries up," Avestan tarshu- "dry, solid," Gk. teresesthai "to become or be dry," L. torrere "dry up, parch," Goth. þaursus "dry, barren," O.H.G. thurri, Ger. dürr, O.E. þyrre "dry;" O.E. þurstig "thirsty"). Meaning "tract of country, considered with regard to its natural features" first attested 1766.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
The birds, scratching new terrain, grabbing low-hanging fruit from tomato
The terrain is too lava-choked to handle singletrack, but there are a number of
  dirt roads to ride.
The catfish has successfully adapted to life in swampy patches of forest
  terrain, the researchers say.
Big, thick footpads help them navigate the rough rocky terrain and shifting
  desert sands.
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