terr-, terra-, -ter

(Latin: earth, dry land, land)

This unit presents many words that are used in references having to do with earth and land; that is, the loose, fragmented material that composes part of the surface of this planet that we live on.

Don't confuse this element with other words that are spelled in a similar way; such as, terrify, terrible.

terra cotta (s) (noun), terra cottas (pl)
1. A hard, semifired, waterproof ceramic clay used in pottery and building construction; terracotta: The couple decided to use tiles made of terra cotta for the floor in their new house.
2. Ceramic wares made of this material: The terra cottas were made of porous clay and fired or baked at a low temperature.
terra cotta lamp (s) (noun), terra cotta lamps (pl)
A historic type of lamp made from an unglazed, lightweight clay material that is typically red in color: Terra cotta lamps are believed to have been first used in ancient Greece in about 600 B.C.

terra firma (s) (noun) (no pl)
1. Solid ground, dry land in contrast to water or air: Grace was very nervous on the flight from Canada to France and was very happy to be able to put her feet back on terra firma once again after arriving safely at the airport!
2. Etymology: from Modern Latin terra firma, "firm land"; from Latin terra "earth, land" + firma, "strong, steadfast".
Solid or firm earth.
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terra incognita (s) (noun), terrae incognitae (pl)
1. An unknown land; an unexplored region: Before people existed, the world had only terrae incognitae.
2. A new or unexplored field of knowledge: The expression terra incognita is often used in referring to matters about which one is uninformed, e.g. "I don't think I can do this because it is terra incognita to me."

terra nullius (s) (noun), terrae nullius (pl)
Land that does not belong to anyone; empty land; no-man's land: In Australia, the idea and legal concept that when the first Europeans arrived in Australia, the land was terra nullius and not possessed by any one, and therefore open to settlement. It has been judged not to be legally valid.
terrace (s) (noun), terraces (pl)
1. A raised level place for walking, with a vertical or a sloping front or sides faced with masonry, turf, or the like: A terrace is especially a raised walk in a garden, or a level surface formed in front of a house on naturally sloping ground, or on the bank of a river.
2. A row of houses on a level above the general surface, or on the face of a rising ground: A terrace is a series of homes of uniform style on a site slightly, if at all, raised above the level of the roadway.
3. An open, often paved area adjacent to a house serving as an outdoor living space; a patio: The couple enjoyed their evening meal outside on the terrace next to the roses.
4. A flat, narrow stretch of ground, often having a steep slope facing a river, lake, or sea: Mary and her friends walked along the seaside terrace enjoying the warm breezes.
5. Ety,mology: about 1515, "gallery, portico, balcony", later "flat, raised place for walking" (1575), from Modern French terrace.

Originating from Old French terrasse "platform (built on or supported by a mound of earth)", from Vulgar Latin terracea, feminine of terraceus "earthen, earthy".

Originating from Latin terra "earth, land". As a natural formation in geology, traced back to 1674.

terraceous (adjective), more terraceous, most terraceous
Earthen or of the earth. earthy: The jug Sam was using was from his neighbour who said it was made of a terraceous clay.
terracing (s) (noun), terracings (pl)
1. A series of level, fairly narrow strips of ground constructed on a hillside that would otherwise be too steep for cultivation: The famen was happy with the terracing that allowed him easier work of plowing, planting, and harvesting his crops.
2. The act or process of creating a terrace or terraces: The crew from the construction company started their terracing early in the morning.
terraculture (s) (noun) (no pl)
Cultivation in the soil of the earth; agriculture: Sam learned a lot about terraculture from his uncle involving harvesting of crops and the management of livestock.
terraform (verb), terraforms; terraformed; terraforming
To transform a landscape on another planet into one having the characteristics of landscapes on Earth: In the science fiction book that Jake was reading, the creatures were terraforming their land to make it look like that of the Earth.

The strange organisms were terraforming the environment of their celestial planet in order to make it capable of supporting earth-life forms.

The organisms wanted to terraform its surface and atmosphere so that life as it exists on Earth would be feasible.

terraformer (s) (noun), terraformers (pl)
Someone or a machine that has the capability of changing the atmosphere of a planet, other than the Earth, into having the traits of the Earth: There have been some terraformers that have advocates the terraformation of another planet, like Mars.
terraforming (s) (noun) (no po)
1. The deliberate process of modifying a planet, moon or other body, to a more earth-like habitable atmosphere, temperature, and ecology: Mr. Timmons, Mary'S teacher, asked his students if they could imagine that terraforming could really be a realistic thing in the future.
2. Used very broadly as a synonym for "planetary engineering" in general: Since space exploration is in its infancy, a good deal of terraforming remains very speculative and serves to stimulate the imaginations of science-fiction writers.
terraformist (s) (noun), terraformists (pl)
Someone who believes in the practice of terraforming: Simon, a terraformist, was convinced of the idea of modifying the habitat of another planet to make it similar to the Earth, and therefore suitable for people to live there!
terrain (s) (noun), terrains (pl)
1. In geography, a tract of land having or considered to have certain natural features and characteristics: The terrain possessed adequate physical characteristics for military purposes.
2. Etymology: from Latin terranum, terrenum, "land, ground"; from terrenus, "of earth, earthly"; from terra, "earth, land"; literally, "dry land" (as opposed to the "sea"); from Greek teresesthai, "to become dry" or "to be dry"; Latin torrere "to dry up, to parch".
A kind of earthy fertilizer.

Cross references of word families related directly, or indirectly, to: "land, ground, fields, soil, dirt, mud, clay, earth (world)": agra-; agrest-; agri-; agro-; argill-; choro-; chthon-; epeiro-; geo-; glob-; lut-; myso-; pedo-; pel-; rhyp-; soil-; sord-.