Meaning of machair in English:


Pronunciation /ˈmaxə/


mass noun
  • (in Scotland, especially the Western Isles) low-lying arable or grazing land formed near the coast by the deposition of sand and shell fragments by the wind.

    ‘machair is the focus of most Hebridean crofting agriculture’
    • ‘machairs occupy long stretches of the western seaboard’
    • ‘On Iona, the threat is to its white sand beaches and the coastal machair which protects low-lying areas further inland.’
    • ‘On the lower ground, choose a line which leads over crofting machair land to a tractor track back to the village.’
    • ‘The Atlantic Ocean has created a sandy plain, known as machair, which blankets the west coast of the whole island chain, providing some very fertile soils.’
    • ‘After removal of sand, each machair sub-community showed some capacity for an elastic photosynthetic response.’
    • ‘I suppose the southern end of Harris is similar to parts - the wide open beaches and machair.’
    • ‘The machair is an internationally rare habitat that is formed when sand is blown onto peat moorland.’
    • ‘Sand dunes, including the machair on the Hebrides, some types of lowland lochs, fens, meadows, hedgerows and blanket bogs are all mentioned as habitats needing further protection.’
    • ‘This is the famous machair grassland, a rich habitat for rare birds and plants.’
    • ‘The final section of the walk through the Bealach Creag an Eoin even follows a track once used by burial parties coming from the Bays to the machair of the Atlantic coast - a coffin route.’
    • ‘In fact it's more than an improvement - it's absurdly beautiful - creamy pink beaches, noble mountains, formidable views, sweet-flowered machair grass, even the sheep are cool and relaxed.’
    • ‘The habitat known as machair is of European importance.’
    • ‘The herbivore samples were obtained from Norse and Iron Age strata at a second coastal, machair site at nearby Bostadh.’
    • ‘I plunged down off Dun-I, fumbled out gloves and scarf from the backpack, and set out for a serious stride over the machair - grassy sward grown up on a thick bed of shell sand.’
    • ‘It was two tyre ruts in the machair with a central ridge of grass and small boulders to threaten his sump.’
    • ‘Here too is the machair, the flat strip of sandy grass-grown land close to the shore.’
    • ‘The yellow bumblebee, which used to be widespread, is now confined to the flower-rich meadows of the machair in the Hebrides.’
    • ‘The only visible sign of military presence are the tracks of a four wheel drive vehicle crossing the beach to a tarred road in the machair.’
    • ‘Rabbits, meanwhile, are a particular problem in the Uists and Coll, where they cause erosion to the machair, a rare habitat which is of particular importance for wildlife globally.’
    • ‘There is nowhere quite like Tiree - to stroll over the machair, covered with clover, wild thyme, harebells and frog orchids, is to slough off every vestige of urban stress.’


Late 17th century from Scottish Gaelic.