A tepee is a traditional dwelling used by indigenous North Americans in the Great Plains and Canadian Prairies. Tepees are cone-shaped tents made of animal skins and wooden poles.

Tepee, which can also be spelled teepee or tipi, comes from the Lakota word thípi, meaning "dwelling." Typical tepees have flaps that open at the top, allowing smoke to escape. Their structure makes them portable but sturdy, and the treated skins keep their inhabitants warm in the winter and dry in the rain. Today, people in native communities mainly use tepees for ceremonies rather than homes.

Definitions of tepee
  1. noun
    a Native American tent; usually of conical shape
    synonyms: teepee, tipi
    see moresee less
    type of:
    indian lodge, lodge
    any of various Native American dwellings
    collapsible shelter, tent
    a portable shelter (usually of canvas stretched over supporting poles and fastened to the ground with ropes and pegs)
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week