a land formation, less extensive than a plateau, having steep walls and a relatively flat top and common in arid and semiarid parts of the southwestern U.S. and Mexico.

Origin of mesa

1750–60, Americanism; < Spanish: table < Latin mēnsa




a city in central Arizona, near Phoenix.

La Mesa

[lah mey-suh]


a city in SW California. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for mesa

elevation, plain, tableland, butte, upland, highland

Examples from the Web for mesa

Contemporary Examples of mesa

Historical Examples of mesa

British Dictionary definitions for mesa



a flat tableland with steep edges, common in the southwestern US

Word Origin for mesa

from Spanish: table
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 mesa

"high table land," 1759, from Spanish mesa "plateau," literally "table," from Latin mensa "table" (source of Rumanian masa, Old French moise "table").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

mesa in Science



An area of high land with a flat top and two or more steep, clifflike sides. Mesas are larger than buttes and smaller than plateaus, and are common in the southwest United States.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.