• synonyms


  1. a deep natural well or sinkhole, especially in Central America, formed by the collapse of surface limestone that exposes ground water underneath, and sometimes used by the ancient Mayans for sacrificial offerings.
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Origin of cenote

1835–45; < Mexican Spanish < Yucatec Mayan
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for cenote

Historical Examples of cenote

  • For these the Mayan Indian name is "cenote," and they are often huge.

    The American Egypt

    Channing Arnold

  • The floor of this cenote is near the watertable but not below it.

  • Dinny led on rapidly till they reached the turning in the direction of the old temple which contained the cenote.

    Commodore Junk

    George Manville Fenn

  • Probably the swallows were nesting in the cenote although the nests were inaccessible to view.

British Dictionary definitions for cenote


  1. (esp in the Yucatán peninsula) a natural well formed by the collapse of an overlying limestone crust: often used as a sacrificial site by the Mayas
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Word Origin for cenote

C19: via Mexican Spanish from Maya conot
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