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[uh-reyt] /əˈreɪt/
noun, Physical Geography, Geology.
a sharp rugged mountain ridge, produced by glaciation.
Origin of arête
1860-65; < French; Old French areste sharp ridge < Latin arista awn, ear of wheat Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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British Dictionary definitions for arête


/əˈreɪt; əˈrɛt/
a sharp ridge separating two cirques or glacial valleys in mountainous regions
Word Origin
C19: from French: fishbone, backbone (of a fish), ridge, sharp edge, from Latin arista ear of corn, fishbone
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for arête



"sharp crest of a mountain," 1862, from Swiss French arête, from Latin arista "ear of grain, the top of an ear," which probably is of Etruscan origin. The figure is of something jagged.



important concept in Greek philosophy, "virtue, excellence," especially of manly qualities; literally "that which is good." The comparative form is areion, the superlative is aristos (cf. aristocracy).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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arête in Science
A sharp, narrow ridge or spur commonly found above the snow line in mountainous areas that have been sculpted by glaciers. Arêtes form as the result of the continued backward erosion of adjoining cirques.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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