[al-pahyn, -pin]
See more synonyms for alpine on
  1. of, pertaining to, on, or part of any lofty mountain.
  2. very high; elevated.
  3. (initial capital letter) of, pertaining to, on, or part of the Alps.
  4. Botany. growing on mountains above the limit of tree growth: alpine plants.
  5. (often initial capital letter) of or relating to downhill skiing or a competitive downhill skiing event.Compare Nordic(def 3).
  6. (initial capital letter) Anthropology. having the features characteristic of an Alpine.
  1. (initial capital letter) Anthropology. a member of a Caucasoid people found in central Europe and characterized by heavy body build, medium complexion, and straight to wavy hair.

Origin of alpine

1600–10; < Latin Alpīnus, equivalent to Alp(ēs) (plural) the Alps + -īnus -ine1
Related formsal·pine·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for alpine


  1. of or relating to high mountains
  2. (of plants) growing on mountains, esp above the limit for tree growth
  3. connected with or used in mountaineering in medium-sized glaciated mountain areas such as the Alps
  4. skiing of or relating to racing events on steep prepared slopes, such as the slalom and downhillCompare nordic
  1. a plant that is native or suited to alpine conditions


  1. of or relating to the Alps or their inhabitants
  2. geology
    1. of or relating to an episode of mountain building in the Tertiary period during which the Alps were formed
    2. of or relating to a high mountainous environment heavily modified by glacial erosion
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

Word Origin and History for alpine



"of the Alps," early 15c., from Latin Alpinus; see Alp. Earlier was Alpish (1590s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

alpine in Science


  1. Resembling or characteristic of the European Alps or any other high mountain system, especially one that has been shaped by intense glacial erosion.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.