- (usually initial capital letter) a member of a prehistoric people of the southwestern U.S., who were ancestors of the Pueblo Indians and built shelters in caves or on the ledges of cliffs.
- a person who lives in an apartment house, especially in a large city.
Origin of cliff dweller
An Americanism dating back to 1880–85
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for cliff dweller
The designs are similar to those found on cliff-dweller pottery.Mesa Verde National Park
In the West this swallow is wholly a cliff-dweller, but it has learned to modify its home in different localities.Bird Neighbors
A square figure with interior parallel squares extending to the center is also found, as elsewhere, in cliff-dweller pictography.Archeological Expedition to Arizona in 1895
Jesse Walter Fewkes
I believe I've neglected to say that there is a dimple in my chin, and Uncle Lancelot's spirit is a cliff-dweller living there.Amazing Grace
Kate Trimble Sharber
The cliff-dweller country supports a scant vegetation—a few cottonwood in the washes, a few cedars on the mesas.