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[ih-skahrp-muh nt] /ɪˈskɑrp mənt/
Geology. a long, precipitous, clifflike ridge of land, rock, or the like, commonly formed by faulting or fracturing of the earth's crust.
Compare scarp (def 1).
ground cut into an escarp around a fortification or defensive position.
Origin of escarpment
From the French word escarpement, dating back to 1795-1805. See escarp, -ment Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for escarpment
Historical Examples
  • The escarpment is caused by a fault, the great block of the upper side being lifted several thousand feet above the valley region.

  • At length they crossed the escarpment of the hill, and stood upon the summit.

    The Young Voyageurs Mayne Reid
  • The escarpment, rising about sixty feet above the level of the sea, seemed cut down by the aid of a plumb-line.

    Toilers of the Sea Victor Hugo
  • Silently he went on climbing the escarpment, digging into the rough rock.

    The Judas Valley Gerald Vance
  • At noon, the salient of the intrenchment was broken down, and the escarpment of the boulevard was greatly damaged.

    Annals of a Fortress E. Viollet-le-Duc
  • Probably the escarpment that extends from Austin to Eagle Pass.

  • Fording it we pitched our camp in the long green grass, just under shelter of the escarpment.

    Across Patagonia Lady Florence Dixie
  • The Dunkirk shale loams are found upon the hill or escarpment.

    The Grapes of New York U. P. Hedrick
  • Two or three miles along the top of the escarpment the mullah sent back word that he wanted the hakim to be beside him.

  • The Downs escarpment was set with gigantic slow-moving wind-wheels.

    When the Sleeper Wakes Herbert George Wells
British Dictionary definitions for escarpment


  1. the long continuous steep face of a ridge or plateau formed by erosion; scarp
  2. any steep slope, such as one resulting from faulting
a steep artificial slope immediately in front of the rampart of a fortified place
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 escarpment

1802, from French escarpment, from escarper "make into a steep slope," from escarpe "slope," from Italian scarpa (see scarp). Earlier in same sense was escarp.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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escarpment in Science
A steep slope or long cliff formed by erosion or by vertical movement of the Earth's crust along a fault. Escarpments separate two relatively level areas of land. The term is often used interchangeably with scarp but is more accurately associated with cliffs produced by erosional processes rather than those produced by faulting.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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