See more synonyms for sierra on
  1. a chain of hills or mountains, the peaks of which suggest the teeth of a saw.
  2. any of several Spanish mackerels of the genus Scomberomorus, especially S. sierra, found in western North America.
  3. a word used in communications to represent the letter S.

Origin of sierra

1590–1600; < Spanish: literally, saw < Latin serra Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for sierra

Contemporary Examples of sierra

Historical Examples of sierra

  • In the meantime the newspapers were read at Sierra Vista, not so much with interest as with anxiety.

    White Fang

    Jack London

  • And outside he went, like a king, with all Sierra Vista about him and tending on him.

    White Fang

    Jack London

  • Sierra Vista was a far vaster affair than the tepee of Grey Beaver.

    White Fang

    Jack London

  • The troops returned to Sierra Leone on the 24th of December.

  • Behind them and off to the right was the gray rampart of the Sierra.

    Two Thousand Miles Below

    Charles Willard Diffin

British Dictionary definitions for sierra


  1. a range of mountains with jagged peaks, esp in Spain or America
Derived Formssierran, adjective

Word Origin for sierra

C17: from Spanish, literally: saw, from Latin serra; see serrate


  1. communications a code word for the letter s
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 sierra

"a range of hills," 1610s, from Spanish sierra "jagged mountain range," literally "saw," from Latin serra "a saw" (cf. serrated), which is of unknown origin.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

sierra in Science


  1. A high, rugged range of mountains having an irregular outline somewhat like the teeth of a saw.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.