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[tuhs-uh k] /ˈtʌs ək/
a tuft or clump of growing grass or the like.
Origin of tussock
1540-50; apparently akin to Middle High German zūsach thicket, derivative of zūse lock (of hair), brushwood. See -ock
Related forms
tussocked, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for tussock
Historical Examples
  • The nest, under a tussock of grass or a stone, is constructed of short dry straws, and usually lined with hair.

  • It is built upon a tussock; and a tussock—did you ever try to pull up a tussock?

    The Fall of the Year Dallas Lore Sharp
  • Hundreds of sea elephants, mostly of the season's young, lay about in the tussock or amongst the rocks.

    The Home of the Blizzard Douglas Mawson
  • The pupa is suspended by the tail to an upright blade of the tussock.

  • Out in the very middle of the bog a figure was standing, balanced on a tussock of firm earth.

    Margaret Montfort Laura E. Richards
  • Stealing forward like a shadow, the old fox sprang at the tussock.

    Wild Folk Samuel Scoville
  • Among these pests, the most important to the dweller in a large city is the tussock moth, which destroys our shade trees.

    A Civic Biology George William Hunter
  • They build nests of tussock on rocks close to the water or maybe on the ground.

    The Home of the Blizzard Douglas Mawson
  • With them have gone a fair portion of the tussock worms, but the sparrow holds his own.

    The Meaning of Evolution Samuel Christian Schmucker
  • There was Mrs. Woodcock peeping at him from behind a tussock of grass.

British Dictionary definitions for tussock


a dense tuft of vegetation, esp of grass
(Austral & NZ)
  1. short for tussock grass
  2. the tussock, country where tussock grass grows
Derived Forms
tussocky, adjective
Word Origin
C16: perhaps related to tusk
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 tussock

1540s, "tuft of hair," of uncertain origin; cf. earlier tusk (1520s) with the same meaning (and also of obscure origin). Meaning "tuft of grass" is first recorded c.1600.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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