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  • WordNet 3.6
    • n terrain a piece of ground having specific characteristics or military potential "they decided to attack across the rocky terrain"
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n terrain A part of the earth's surface limited in extent; a region, district, or tract of land, either looked at in a general way or considered with reference to its fitness or use for some special purpose, as for a building-place or a battle-field: a term little used in English except in translating from the French, and then with the same meaning which it has in the original. The word is, however, also used in various idiomatic expressions, in translating a number of which the English word “ground” is most properly employed: as, “gagner du terrain,” to gain ground; “perdre du terrain,” to lose ground, favor, or credit; also with various metaphorical significations: as, “être sur son terrain,” to have to do with, or to speak of, that with which one is thoroughly familiar; “sonder le terrain,” examine the conditions, or look into the matter, etc. As used by French geologists, the word terrain has a somewhat vague meaning, and is usually limited by some qualifying term: as, “terrain de transition,” “terrain primitif.” This word was introduced into English geological literature by the translator of Humboldt's “Essai Géognostique,” where it was used, as he remarks, “because we have no word in the English language which will accurately express terrain as used in geology by the French.” Also spelled (but rarely) terrane.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Terrain ter′ān (geol.) any series of rocks continuously related: any tract considered in relation to its fitness for some purpose.
    • ***


Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Fr.,—L. terrenum.


In literature:

Together they surveyed the terrain.
"Smugglers' Reef" by John Blaine
If the terrain was so bad, Hooker ought to have known it beforehand, and not brought his army there.
"Diary from November 12, 1862, to October 18, 1863" by Adam Gurowski
Stumbling through the cratered terrain the Austrians advance toward the Italian positions.
"The Story of the Great War, Volume V (of 8)"
Cattle would not be found deep in a mountainous terrain.
"Pariah Planet" by Murray Leinster
Ten days later, Earth time, he was circling Titan, while he searched the grim, forbidden terrain beneath.
"Loot of the Void" by Edwin K. Sloat
Chance, and Lancelot, gave him the chart of the terrain.
"Love and Lucy" by Maurice Henry Hewlett
It cast crazy shadows on the terrain unreeling below.
"Master of the Moondog" by Stanley Mullen
He had run the upward two miles in a little over nine minutes, surely a record for such terrain.
"The Sensitive Man" by Poul William Anderson
Rick vaguely felt the smooth runway change to rougher terrain.
"The Scarlet Lake Mystery" by Harold Leland Goodwin
This time he watched the terrain carefully, while Scotty did the same.
"The Blue Ghost Mystery" by Harold Leland Goodwin
He lay motionless, watching for a hint of motion, for the fitful shadow, for any wrongness in the terrain that might be the Cytha.
"The World That Couldn't Be" by Clifford Donald Simak
The contours of the terrain were such that a lava flow of any magnitude would engulf the little city.
"The Flaming Mountain" by Harold Leland Goodwin
The terrain seemed increasingly unfamiliar though he should have known every foot of it.
"World of the Drone" by Robert Abernathy
Rugged terrain makes travel difficult on others.
"Area Handbook for Albania" by Eugene K. Keefe
Rick surveyed the terrain anxiously.
"The Caves of Fear" by John Blaine
It was to be a non-stop trip, mostly to familiarize Rick with the terrain.
"The Golden Skull" by John Blaine
Stan was not sure of the terrain he had to fly over.
"A Yankee Flier in Italy" by Rutherford G. Montgomery
The lifeless terrain reeled dizzily, but he went on resolutely.
"Isle of the Undead" by Lloyd Arthur Eshbach
He scanned the terrain.
"The Buttoned Sky" by Geoff St. Reynard
Then he snapped into it and began to scan the terrain for signs of life.
"The Giants From Outer Space" by Geoff St. Reynard

In poetry:

The fallow graves, ponds
Full of limp fish, tall
Terrains, fields and fronds
Through which we crawl, and call.
"False Nightmare" by Allen Tate
High-heels were struggling with a full-length dress
So that, between the wind and the terrain,
At times a shining stocking would be seen,
And gone too soon. We liked that foolishness.
"The Young Fools (Les Ingénus) " by Paul Verlaine

In news:

So is conquering fear, learning to manage risk, and keeping your cool in big-mountain, high-consequence terrain.
Q Based on the West Coast, the Dirt Wheels crew spends most of their time on some of the gnarliest ATV and UTV terrain imaginable.
Our rough, rocky desert terrain is prime for thoroughly testing anything and everything with four wheels and a motor.
The woman, whose name has not been released, was hiking with a family member when she fell in steep, rocky terrain just before 6 pm Saturday.
Park officials say rough terrain is hampering their efforts and could be a problem on Wednesday.
I've got a Land Rover/Range Rover, and the big old glossy box arrived with enough buttons and switches to conquer the terrains of several.
Torchlight II offers more monsters, terrains and character options than the first game.
13 Terrain gets Denali treatment.
They've tried adding swimming and biking and 100 miles of terrain.
The brainchild of an inspired Donald Ross, this anything-but-a-resort-course unfolds in storybook fashion from timbered terrain high above Lake George.
Afterall, around home the terrain is dotted with boats sitting in backyards and driveways.
Stephan Jaklitsch's Terrain vase in white PLA plastic by MoMA Design Store, 646-613-1367.
FBI wants safer terrain before heading to Libya.
Software Gives 3-D Views of Terrain.
Applied Imagery's first customer purchased the company's terrain imaging technology to search for tools from the past.

In science:

This study focuses on developing image processing algorithms and fuzzy inference system for the analysis of the terrain.
Robotics Vision-based Heuristic Reasoning for Underwater Target Tracking and Navigation
Then, she starts adding other information (attributes) to this new topic (possibly associating other information that has been recorded), like distance, difficulty, terrain features, location, splits.
Human Information Processing with the Personal Memex
The local terrain and building geometry affect the wind power spectrum.
Study of the Dynamics of Large Reflector Antennas with Accelerometers
In the course of solving these problems we will develop the calculus of free random variables and explore the terrain of the free world.
Three lectures on free probability
As a result, no review or book can cover completely such a vast terrain.
A Collection of Exercises in Two-Dimensional Physics, Part 1
With its unparalleled ability to make detailed measurements of the properties of the new states, a linear collider would be essential to map out the terrain. A long and rich program would be assured.
Linear Collider Physics Resource Book for Snowmass 2001 - Part 1: Introduction
We should seek ways to explore the edges of this terrain, and searching for multiquark states is one way to do this.
Experimental Search for Pentaquarks
An example burning in real terrain is shown but no discussion of its performance against real fires is given.
A review of wildland fire spread modelling, 1990-present, 1: Physical and quasi-physical models
While wildland fires in flat terrain do occur, it is very rare (if not impossible) for these fires to occur in no wind.
A review of wildland fire spread modelling, 1990-present, 1: Physical and quasi-physical models
Numerical simulation of forest fire propagation in complex terrain.
A review of wildland fire spread modelling, 1990-present, 1: Physical and quasi-physical models
The vertical levels are treated with a hybrid σ -P coordinate system: the terrain-following σ -coordinate is used near the planetary surface and transitions to the P -coordinate well above the surface.
Atmospheric circulation of tidally locked exoplanets: a suite of benchmark tests for dynamical solvers
The complexity of the multiparty terrain – both on the theoretical and experimental fronts – restricts the study of information transfer in such systems.
Quantum Advantage in Communication Networks
Consider positive and independent random variables X and Y as models for the terrain backscatter and the speckle noise, respectively.
Parametric and Nonparametric Tests for Speckled Imagery
While the random variable X models the terrain backscatter, the random variable Y models the speckle noise.
Hypothesis Testing in Speckled Data with Stochastic Distances
Following the analysis of terrain bias by Bartlett and Tew, Stacey et al.
Ten Years of the Fifth Force