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[kool-wahr; French koo-lwar]
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noun, plural cou·loirs [kool-wahrz, French koo-lwar] /kulˈwɑrz, French kuˈlwar/.
  1. a steep gorge or gully on the side of a mountain, especially in the Alps.
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Origin of couloir

1850–55; < French: literally, colander < Late Latin cōlātōrium strainer, equivalent to Latin cōlā(re) to strain, filter + -tōrium -tory2; see coulee
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for couloir

Historical Examples

  • Just below him lay the longest ice-slope, or couloir, he had hitherto encountered.

    Rivers of Ice

    R.M. Ballantyne

  • A few minutes more, and he stood at the foot of the couloir.

    Rivers of Ice

    R.M. Ballantyne

  • In a quarter of an hour we were on the other side of the couloir.

  • We resolved, then, to risk the short stretch across the couloir.

  • We climbed down into the couloir: the ice was furrowed by avalanches.

British Dictionary definitions for couloir


  1. a deep gully on a mountain side, esp in the French Alps
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Word Origin

C19: from French: corridor, from couler to pour; see coulee
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