Definition of boreal in English:



  • 1Of the north or northern regions.

    • ‘The Boreal province persisted from the Jurassic but was less marked, the Tethyan province was well populated with characteristic benthos.’
    • ‘It is apparently absent from Triassic faunas of northeastern Asia and the Boreal region, and until now has not been reported from the Triassic of the Americas.’
    • ‘There is some disagreement about stratigraphic nomenclature and correlations between the Boreal and Tethyan faunal realms across the Jurassic-Cretaceous boundary.’
    • ‘The idea of Boreal origins for both Gryphaea and Liostrea has to some extent been buttressed by discrediting or ignoring reports of occurrences of the genus in the Tethyan region in the Late Triassic.’
    • ‘The alleged bureaucratic ubiquity of the Teutonic world is not really being treated as conditional on the truth of a contingent claim about those hardy Boreal nomads of the Arctic.’
  • 2Ecology
    Relating to or characteristic of the climatic zone south of the Arctic, especially the cold temperate region dominated by taiga and forests of birch, poplar, and conifers.

    ‘northern boreal forest’
    • ‘Moose and caribou share the region's tundra and boreal forests with arctic foxes, wolves, lynx, and black bears.’
    • ‘Maybe it is time to redefine and reevaluate the ‘pristine’ forest reserves of boreal Sweden.’
    • ‘Ecologically, the coast is a mixture of tundra, taiga, boreal, and marine biomes.’
    • ‘The effects of slash-and-burn cultivation on soil are more critical in the tropical regions than in boreal forests.’
    • ‘In the northern hemisphere, marine floras and faunas show a clear differentiation into two realms, Tethyan and Boreal.’
    • ‘The limited growing season produces a more stunted boreal forest unlike the more uniform forests typical of other Quebec boreal regions.’
    • ‘The temperate and boreal forests along with the arctic tundra of these four provinces are extremely fragile.’
    • ‘When you flood boreal forests and taiga, you do produce methane.’
    • ‘For example, Hallowell found the bear cult was linked strictly to hunting success among the northern Boreal foraging societies.’
    • ‘Cape Cod is also a well-known faunal break that separates the Atlantic Boreal fauna to the north from the Atlantic Temperate fauna to the south.’
    • ‘Based on the observations from sites in the Parkland and Boreal eco-regions of the prairies we conclude that cutting alfalfa in these regions does not result in massive movement of adult lygus bugs into nearby canola.’
    • ‘These societies are south of Hallowell's focus of study, the northern Boreal area of North America.’
    • ‘Our route has taken us northwest through a fairy-tale landscape where the boreal forest, or taiga, begins to give way to more open land, or tundra.’
    • ‘The range of this bird extends across the boreal and temperate zones of Europe and Asia as far as China.’
    • ‘It lay between the Tethyan and Boreal realms and contains megafaunal elements of both.’
    • ‘The Siberian northern boreal forests, called Taiga, where the fires were burning are mainly spruce and fir trees.’
    • ‘The balance is conifer, which is a mixed bag of species that are common to the boreal forest region, including white spruce, black spruce and jack pine.’
    • ‘In the summer, storms bring forest fires to the boreal zone.’
    • ‘The birches (Betula L.) are common trees and shrubs of the boreal and north temperate zones of the Northern hemisphere.’
    • ‘The Cardioceratidae were virtually the only ammonites in the Boreal area, to which they were confined.’
    chilly, cool, freezing, icy, snowy, icy-cold, glacial, wintry, crisp, frosty, frigid, bitter, bitterly cold, biting, piercing, numbing, sharp, raw, polar, arctic, siberian
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1Botany Relating to or denoting a phytogeographical kingdom comprising the arctic and temperate regions of Eurasia and North America.
      • ‘This, following the current views on molecular evolution, may have been a separate benthic-planktic transition in Boreal latitudes; Compactogerina is currently only known from Northern Russia and the south of the UK.’
      • ‘Eriophorum spp. are abundant perennial graminoids in the Arctic tundra and boreal peatlands.’
  • 3Geology
    Relating to or denoting the second climatic stage of the postglacial period in northern Europe, between the Preboreal and Atlantic stages (about 9,000 to 7,500 years ago), marked by a warm, dry climate.


Late Middle English: from late Latin borealis, from Latin Boreas, denoting the god of the north wind, from Greek.