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[see-er-uh] /siˈɛr ə/
a chain of hills or mountains, the peaks of which suggest the teeth of a saw.
any of several Spanish mackerels of the genus Scomberomorus, especially S. sierra, found in western North America.
a word used in communications to represent the letter S.
Origin of sierra
1590-1600; < Spanish: literally, saw < Latin serra Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for sierra
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The 2,000-foot firs of the sierra slopes appear but as green-black billows.

    Unexplored! Allen Chaffee
  • The frigate and her prize then made sail together for sierra Leone.

    The Three Midshipmen W.H.G. Kingston
  • I nodded at recollection of the vulpine-face superintendent of the sierra Mills.

    The Iron Heel Jack London
  • I practiced medicine a few years in the sierra Mountains, California.

    Doctor Jones' Picnic S. E. Chapman
  • Two June-taken females from the sierra de Tamaulipas were lactating, and weighed 17 and 18 grams.

British Dictionary definitions for sierra


a range of mountains with jagged peaks, esp in Spain or America
Derived Forms
sierran, adjective
Word Origin
C17: from Spanish, literally: saw, from Latin serra; see serrate


(communications) a code word for the letter s
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 sierra

"a range of hills," 1610s, from Spanish sierra "jagged mountain range," literally "saw," from Latin serra "a saw" (cf. serrated), which is of unknown origin.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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sierra in Science
A high, rugged range of mountains having an irregular outline somewhat like the teeth of a saw.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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