[ kawr-dl-yair-uh, -air-uh, kawr-dil-er-uh ]
/ ˌkɔr dlˈyɛər ə, -ˈɛər ə, kɔrˈdɪl ər ə /


a chain of mountains, usually the principal mountain system or mountain axis of a large landmass.

Origin of cordillera

1695–1705; < Spanish, derivative of cordilla, diminutive of cuerda string, mountain range (< Latin chorda); see cord


cor·dil·le·ran, adjective

Definition for cordilleran (2 of 2)

[ kawr-dl-yair-uh z, -air-, kawr-dil-er-uh z; Spanish kawr-th ee-ye-rahs for 1 ]
/ ˌkɔr dlˈyɛər əz, -ˈɛər-, kɔrˈdɪl ər əz; Spanish ˌkɔr ðiˈyɛ rɑs for 1 /


a mountain system in W South America: the Andes and its component ranges.
a mountain system in W North America, including the Sierra Nevada, Coast Range, Cascade Range, and Rocky Mountains.
the entire chain of mountain ranges parallel to the Pacific coast, extending from Cape Horn to Alaska.


Cor·dil·le·ran, adjectivetrans-Cor·dil·le·ran, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cordilleran

  • Mexico, unlike other Cordilleran countries, lends itself to travel in certain directions by means of roads and vehicles.

    Mexico|Charles Reginald Enock
  • During the wet season the vicua browses on the scanty vegetation of the Cordilleran ridges.

    The Desert World|Arthur Mangin
  • The Tapir Pinchaca appears to be confined to the region of the Cordilleran table-lands.

    The Desert World|Arthur Mangin

British Dictionary definitions for cordilleran (1 of 2)

/ (ˌkɔːdɪlˈjɛərə) /


a series of parallel ranges of mountains, esp in the northwestern US

Derived forms of cordillera

cordilleran, adjective

Word Origin for cordillera

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

British Dictionary definitions for cordilleran (2 of 2)

/ (ˌkɔːdɪlˈjɛərəz, Spanish korðiˈʎeras) /

pl n

the Cordilleras the complex of mountain ranges on the W side of the Americas, extending from Alaska to Cape Horn and including the Andes and the Rocky Mountains
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

Science definitions for cordilleran

[ kôr′dl-yârə ]

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.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.