the aggregate of qualities, as valor and virtue, making up good character.

< Greek aretḗ Unabridged


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. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
arête (əˈreɪt, əˈrɛt)
a sharp ridge separating two cirques or glacial valleys in mountainous regions
[C19: from French: fishbone, backbone (of a fish), ridge, sharp edge, from Latin arista ear of corn, fishbone]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

"sharp crest of a mountain," 1862, from Swiss Fr., from L. arista "ear of grain," which probably is of Etruscan origin.

important concept in Gk. philosophy, "virtue, excellence," lit. "that which is good." The comp. form is areion, the superl. is aristos (cf. aristocracy).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
arête   (ə-rāt')  Pronunciation Key 
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 Britannica


(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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Example sentences
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.
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