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[grah-buh n] /ˈgrɑ bən/
a portion of the earth's crust, bounded on at least two sides by faults, that has dropped downward in relation to adjacent portions.
Also called rift valley.
Compare horst.
Origin of graben
1895-1900; < German: ditch Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for graben
Historical Examples
  • It is no moat, no graben, that is now being dug, but a grave—a Grab.

  • The depression is probably a “graben” or trough formed by faulting.

  • The beautiful “graben” and Horse-market once more excited my admiration.

    Visit to Iceland Ida Pfeiffer
  • Cannon were in position on the Stephan's Platz and the graben, and the gunners stood ready, as if on parade.

    The Daltons, Volume II (of II) Charles James Lever
  • Every one seemed as joyous and carefree as on the graben in Vienna on a sunny spring Sunday in times of undisturbed peace.

    Men in War Andreas Latzko
  • Stafforth escorted Wilhelmine to his coach, which waited to convey her to the house in the graben.

    A German Pompadour Marie Hay
  • "That old tree with the iron hoop around it, at the corner of the graben," replied her companion.

    Our Little Austrian Cousin Florence E. Mendel
  • The dusk of the evening saw Milor in the dress of a porter, pacing the graben with a steady step.

    A Tramp's Wallet William Duthie
  • Lately up have I them graben, and likewise his tutelar Sphynx have found, and have even to give signs of animation compelled.'

    The Two Sides of the Shield Charlotte M. Yonge
  • The district, too, was less formidable than the neighborhood of the Karntnerstrasse and the graben.

    The Street of Seven Stars Mary Roberts Rinehart
British Dictionary definitions for graben


an elongated trough of land produced by subsidence of the earth's crust between two faults
Word Origin
C19: from German, from Old High German graban to dig
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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graben in Science
A usually elongated block of rock that is bounded by parallel geologic faults along its two longest sides, and has a lower elevation than the rock at its sides. Grabens form where rock is being pulled apart by tectonic forces. The East African Rift Valley is a graben.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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