Definition of tussock in US English:



  • 1A small area of grass that is thicker or longer than the grass growing around it.

    • ‘Heavily fleeced sheep hunkered down behind tussocks of tawny grass for shelter.’
    • ‘The garden bar seating will be extended and landscaped with stone work features, a barbeque area and coloured tussocks.’
    • ‘Firstly, it's the morning that I happen to severely sprain my ankle, landing badly on a tussock of grass as I trot downhill from my tent to the river below.’
    • ‘Scrubby acacia bush gave way to tussocks of cram cram grass until that too disappeared.’
    • ‘He hid inside a tussock of oat grass and watched as the fine thatched house rose up beside the water-hole.’
    • ‘We're surrounded by tussock sedge, alder, jewelweed, skunk cabbage and swamp rose.’
    • ‘A large part of the study area was a bed of Carex tussocks, in which C. appropinquata was the dominant species.’
    • ‘Dave and I forged on up and down the slopes, stopping to admire the olive-green frogs that leaped muscularly away from our descending boots to freeze like tiny carvings beneath tussocks of wet grass.’
    • ‘Between the tussocks of grass grew purple heather and tufted bog cotton, which were used in the old days for pillows and mattresses.’
    • ‘A spring was negotiated and a beech copse, and a roe deer stood still and camouflaged in tussocks of grass by a stream.’
    • ‘The nest is usually located on top of a low mound or small island, under a small shrub or in a sedge tussock.’
    • ‘If a bird needs to eat the flies which thrive on uncut grass tussocks, then regular cutting of the grass for silage is going to be a problem.’
    • ‘This land growing mainly tussock is old goldmining country and heaps of tailings are evidence of the earlier presence of the miners who must have rejoiced to slake their thirst at the Cardrona Hotel built in 1870.’
    • ‘I breathed deep, taking in the scent of pollen blown from the wild grass, and carried in vaporous clouds over the larger tussocks, past a grazing antelope and onwards over the rolling hillocks as far as we could see.’
    • ‘The ground was wet and boggy and the yellow grasses had been raised up into high tussocks.’
    • ‘For me, the Routeburn has everything - waterfalls, golden tussocks, beech forest, alpine lakes and passes and, of course, breathtaking mountain scenery.’
    • ‘These higher-elevation plots were covered with dense grass tussocks.’
    • ‘Scant tundra grass tussocks have been pulled and lay in rows.’
    • ‘They place their nests at the bases of large trees in burrows under the roots, or under grass tussocks.’
    • ‘Larks that live in desert areas will stand in the shade of grass tussocks during the hottest parts of the day.’
    clump, bunch, knot, cluster, tuffet
    View synonyms
  • 2A woodland moth whose adults and brightly colored caterpillars both bear tufts of irritant hairs. The caterpillars can be a pest of trees, damaging fruit and stripping leaves.

    Family Lymantriidae: many genera


Mid 16th century: perhaps an alteration of dialect tusk ‘tuft’, of unknown origin.