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[ahr-i-tey] /ˌɑr ɪˈteɪ/
the aggregate of qualities, as valor and virtue, making up good character.
< Greek aretḗ


[uh-reyt] /əˈreɪt/
noun, Physical Geography, Geology
a sharp rugged mountain ridge, produced by glaciation.
1860-65; < French; Old French areste sharp ridge < Latin arista awn, ear of wheat Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for arete
  • Northeast-looking photograph showing a well-formed sharp-peaked horn and connected arete ridge.
  • arete does bring up a good point, though, in the second half of the post.
British Dictionary definitions for arete


/əˈreɪt; əˈrɛt/
a sharp ridge separating two cirques or glacial valleys in mountainous regions
Word Origin
C19: from French: fishbone, backbone (of a fish), ridge, sharp edge, from Latin arista ear of corn, fishbone
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for arete

"sharp crest of a mountain," 1862, from Swiss French arête, from Latin arista "ear of grain, the top of an ear," which probably is of Etruscan origin. The figure is of something jagged.

important concept in Greek philosophy, "virtue, excellence," especially of manly qualities; literally "that which is good." The comparative form is areion, the superlative is aristos (cf. aristocracy).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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arete in Science
A sharp, narrow ridge or spur commonly found above the snow line in mountainous areas that have been sculpted by glaciers. Arêtes form as the result of the continued backward erosion of adjoining cirques.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for arete

(French: "ridge"), in geology, a sharp-crested serrate ridge separating the heads of opposing valleys (cirques) that formerly were occupied by Alpine glaciers. It has steep sides formed by the collapse of unsupported rock, undercut by continual freezing and thawing (glacial sapping; see cirque). Two opposing glaciers meeting at an arete will carve a low, smooth gap, or col. An arete may culminate in a high triangular peak or horn (such as the Matterhorn) formed by three or more glaciers eroding toward each other

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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