• synonyms


[kawr-dl-yair-uh, -air-uh, kawr-dil-er-uh]
See more synonyms for cordillera on Thesaurus.com
  1. a chain of mountains, usually the principal mountain system or mountain axis of a large landmass.
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Origin of cordillera

1695–1705; < Spanish, derivative of cordilla, diminutive of cuerda string, mountain range (< Latin chorda); see cord
Related formscor·dil·le·ran, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for cordillera

sierra, chain, range, Alps, Andes, Himalayas, Rockies, cordillera, massif

Examples from the Web for cordillera

Historical Examples of cordillera

  • Cordillera genera of plants have also, somehow, reached the Silla of Caracas.

    More Letters of Charles Darwin

    Charles Darwin

  • We were not yet certain by which pass the caravan might cross the great Cordillera.

  • The western one nearer the coast is called the Cordillera, or the Coast Range.

  • They exist also in Chili, on the plains at the foot of the Cordillera of the Andes.

    At Home with the Patagonians

    George Chaworth Musters

  • He also proposed a trip into the Cordillera in search of wild cattle.

    At Home with the Patagonians

    George Chaworth Musters

British Dictionary definitions for cordillera


  1. a series of parallel ranges of mountains, esp in the northwestern US
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Derived Formscordilleran, adjective

Word Origin for cordillera

C18: from Spanish, from cordilla, literally: a little cord, from cuerda mountain range, cord
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 cordillera


1704, from Spanish, "mountain chain," from cordilla, in Old Spanish "string, rope," diminutive of cuerda, from Latin chorda "cord, rope" (see cord).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

cordillera in Science


  1. A long and wide chain of mountains, especially the main mountain range of a large landmass. Cordilleras can include the valleys, basins, rivers, lakes, plains, and plateaus between parallel chains of a single mountain system, or they can consist solely of a string of connected mountain peaks.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.