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See more synonyms for scarp on Thesaurus.com
  1. a line of cliffs formed by the faulting or fracturing of the earth's crust; an escarpment.
  2. Fortification. an escarp.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to form or cut into a steep slope.
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Origin of scarp

First recorded in 1580–90, scarp is from the Italian word scarpa a slope. See escarp
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for scarp

wall, bluff, precipice, crag, escarpment, scar, face, scarp

Examples from the Web for scarp

Historical Examples of scarp

  • The first up, on clearing the scarp, have their eyes upon the Dutchman.

    The Flag of Distress

    Mayne Reid

  • The scarp is about 40 feet high at the highest point; (Fig. 242).

    Archology and the Bible

    George A. Barton

  • There were several hits on the scarp, but none of the guns were touched.

  • There were several hits on the scarp, but none of the guns were in any way injured.

  • He was within an ace of capture, and to save himself was forced back from the scarp.

    Prester John

    John Buchan

British Dictionary definitions for scarp


  1. a steep slope, esp one formed by erosion or faulting; escarpmentSee also cuesta
  2. fortifications the side of a ditch cut nearest to and immediately below a rampart
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  1. (tr; often passive) to wear or cut so as to form a steep slope
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Word Origin for scarp

C16: from Italian scarpa
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 scarp


"steep slope," 1580s, from Italian scarpa "slope," probably from a Germanic source, perhaps Gothic skarpo "pointed object," from Proto-Germanic *skarpa- "cutting, sharp" (cf. Middle High German schroffe "sharp rock, crag," Old English scræf "cave, grave"), from PIE *(s)ker- "to cut" (see shear (v.)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

scarp in Science


  1. A continuous line of cliffs produced by vertical movement of the Earth's crust along a fault or by erosion. The term is often used interchangeably with escarpment but is more accurately associated with cliffs produced by faulting rather than those produced by erosional processes.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.