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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ And if you have partial sun, holly fern would be a good choice, as would dwarf gardenias.
▪ And there are people who leave the track while trying to gather a few ferns.
▪ Description: This aquatic water fern is a rosette plant which has dense, fibrous roots.
▪ Hairy tongues like fat black ferns spilled out of them, shivering in the draught of their passing.
▪ I let myself out through the side gate and washed my fingers off on a faucet beside the Boston ferns.
▪ In general, ferns like organically enriched, moist but well-draining soil on the acid side.
▪ Several rare ferns grow on the steep banks of the burn where it runs into the lake.
▪ The air smelled of the black soil brought down from the mountains to make Tia Mimi s giant ferns grow tall.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Fern \Fern\ (f[~e]rn), n. [AS. fearn; akin to D. varen, G. farn, farnkraut; cf. Skr. par[.n]a wing, feather, leaf, sort of plant, or Lith. papartis fern.] (Bot.) An order of cryptogamous plants, the Filices, which have their fructification on the back of the fronds or leaves. They are usually found in humid soil, sometimes grow epiphytically on trees, and in tropical climates often attain a gigantic size. Note: The plants are asexual, and bear clustered sporangia, containing minute spores, which germinate and form prothalli, on which are borne the true organs of reproduction. The brake or bracken, the maidenhair, and the polypody are all well known ferns. Christmas fern. See under Christmas. Climbing fern (Bot.), a delicate North American fern ( Lygodium palmatum), which climbs several feet high over bushes, etc., and is much sought for purposes of decoration. Fern owl. (Zo["o]l.)

  1. The European goatsucker.

  2. The short-eared owl. [Prov. Eng.] -- Fern shaw, a fern thicket. [Eng.]
    --R. Browning.


Fern \Fern\, adv. Long ago. [Obs.]


Fern \Fern\, a. [AS. fyrn.] Ancient; old. [Obs.] ``Pilgrimages to . . . ferne halwes.'' [saints].

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

Old English fearn "fern," from Proto-Germanic *farno- (cognates: Old Saxon farn, Middle Dutch vaern, Dutch varen, Old High German farn, German Farn).\n

\nPossibly the word has a prehistoric sense of "having feathery fronds" and is from PIE *por-no-, which has yielded words for "feather, wing" (cognates: Sanskrit parnam "feather;" Lithuanian papartis "fern;" Russian paporot'; Greek pteris "fern," pteron "feather"), from the root *per- (2) "to lead, pass over" (see petition (n.)). The plant's ability to appear as if from nothing accounts for the ancient belief that fern seeds conferred invisibility (1590s). Filicology "science or study of ferns" (1848) is from Latin filix "fern."


n. Any of a group of some twenty thousand species of vascular plants classified in the division Pteridophyta that lack seeds and reproduce by shedding spores to initiate an alternation of generations.


n. any of numerous flowerless and seedless vascular plants having true roots from a rhizome and fronds that uncurl upward; reproduce by spores


Fern (also Stichting Fern is a Dutch foundation created in 1995. It is an international non-governmental organization to keep track of the EU's involvement in forests and to coordinate NGO activities at the European level. Through its work, Fern aims to increase the political and economic opportunities for people to create a more balanced society in which human rights are fully respected and environmental and social values are fully integrated.

Although Fern is known for its work on forests, since 2000 Fern has widened its scope beyond forests to also include work on general aid, trade and climate issues, as many of the decisions made in these areas have a direct or indirect impact on forests and forest peoples’ rights. Fern campaigns fall within the following areas: forests and climate, forest governance, biodiversity offsetting, bioenergy, and finance and trade. In all these areas, Fern works very closely with a large number of environmental groups and social movements across the world.

Fern works as a non-hierarchical structure. Currently, the organisation has two offices (Brussels, Belgium; and Moreton-in-Marsh, UK) and sixteen staff positions.

Fern's official mission statement describes the organisation and its aims thus: Fern works to achieve greater environmental and social justice, focusing on forests and forest peoples’ rights in the policies and practices of the European Union.

Fern (disambiguation)

Fern is the common name for plants in the phylum or division Pterophyta, also known as Filicophyta.

Fern may also refer to:

Fern (rapper)

Fernando Miranda (born May 16, 1979), who goes by the stage name Fern and sometimes FERN or F.E.R.N., is an American Christian hip hop musician. He is part of the duo Social Club Misfits, together with his partner, Marty (Martin). His first EP, 68 and Douglas, was released in 2015. This was his breakthrough release upon the Billboard magazine charts.

Fern (TV series)

Fern is a British chat show hosted by Fern Britton which aired on Channel 4 on weekdays at 5:00pm in March and April 2011. The format is a teatime chat show featuring real-life stories, a mix of gossip and entertainment. The studio had a sofa area for interviewing celebrity guests, a kitchen area, two smaller areas for interviewing other guests and an audience. Britton interviewed a range of guests on the show including actors Alan Cumming, Richard Wilson and Richard E. Grant, singer Coleen Nolan, disc-jockeys Chris Evans and Chris Moyles, musician Brian May, comedians Alan Carr and Miranda Hart and charity fundraiser Jack Henderson.

Fern received lower ratings than expected, and was axed after its four-week trial run. Britton is said to be discussing alternative formats with Channel 4 and her chat show may be revived at a later date in a different format.

Usage examples of "fern".

In between the stones at various levels from top to bottom were large, cavelike spaces where ferns, agapanthus, and calla lilies grew.

Now the iron beast, consuming its ration of coal, is really browsing the ancient foliage of arborescent ferns in which solar energy has accumulated.

If our lungs find in the atmosphere the aliment they need, it is thanks to the inconceivably incoherent forests of arborescent fern.

Behind us rose a dark and forbidding wood of giant arborescent ferns intermingled with the commoner types of a primeval tropical forest.

When the hunters tired of fishing, and when they wearied of crossing the sand-dunes and the glaring, shimmering beachglaring and shimmering on every fine day of summer-to poke off the mussels and spear the butterfish and groper, they pushed through the Ceratopetalums and the burrawangs, and, following the tortuous bed of the principal creek amid the ferns and the moss and the vines and the myrtles, gradually ascending, they entered the sub-tropical patch where the ferns were huge and lank and staghorns clustered on rocks and trees, and the beautiful Dendrobium clung, and the supplejacks and leatherwoods and bangalow palms ran up in slender height, and that pretty massive parasite-the wild fig-made its umbrageous shade, as has been written.

Bracken fern, rank and tall, Chorizema and snake vine, Bauera with the always blooming pink flowerets, and Tetratheca, with the layer of tangled twigs, made the going difficult.

Most of my readers know very well what a petit verre is, but there may be here and there a virtuous abstainer from alcoholic fluids, living among the bayberries and the sweet ferns, who is not aware that the words, as commonly used, signify a small glass--a very small glass--of spirit, commonly brandy, taken as a chasse-cafe, or coffee-chaser.

The spot where the brooklet came rushing over its rocky steep was reached, the ferns gathered and bepraised, before a word was interchanged between the stranger knight and me.

The ground was carpeted with luxuriant mosses and graceful ferns, and the continual appearance of brown hematite wherever there was a rise in the soil, betokened the existence of a rich vein of metal beneath.

The rain still fell, and the ground was boggy, but by digging close to the tough roots of the ferns she was able to construct a satisfactory burrow.

The burn, small with the summer drought, made a far-away tinkling, the sweet scents of pine and fern were about him, the dense boskage where it met the sky had in the dark a sharp marmoreal outline.

The door behind the row of palms and ferns was opening, and Miss Burd, in scholastic cap and gown, was ushering in the Mayor, the Mayoress, several Town Councilors and their wives, a few clergy, the head-master of the School of Art, and, to the place of honor in the middle, Sir James Hilton, the Member of Parliament for Grovebury, who was to conduct the ceremony of the afternoon.

It was not the trees and lianas only that were beautiful in these sunny openings, but the ferns, mosses, orchids, and selaginellas, with the crimson-tipped dracaena, and the crimson-veined caladium, and the great red nepenthe with purple blotches on its nearly diaphanous pitchers, and another pitcher-plant of an epiphytal habit, with pea-green pitchers scrambling to a great height over the branches of the smaller trees.

Sure enough, along the course followed by the inlet, the huge fern trees and calamites were flung down one after the other, their branches waving as they fell like vanquished standards.

Scrambling in the dell of a burn, he had observed both varieties of the filmy fern and what he knew to be a very rare cerast, and, though an ardent botanist, he had observed them unmoved.