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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
  • sierra Vista was a far vaster affair than the tepee of Grey Beaver.

    White Fang Jack London
  • In the meantime the newspapers were read at sierra Vista, not so much with interest as with anxiety.

    White Fang Jack London
  • And outside he went, like a king, with all sierra Vista about him and tending on him.

    White Fang Jack London
  • The troops returned to sierra Leone on the 24th of December.

  • Behind them and off to the right was the gray rampart of the sierra.

    Two Thousand Miles Below Charles Willard Diffin
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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