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cliff dweller

(usually initial capital letter) a member of a prehistoric people of the southwestern U.S., who were ancestors of the Pueblo Indians and built shelters in caves or on the ledges of cliffs.
a person who lives in an apartment house, especially in a large city.
Origin of cliff dweller
1880-85, Americanism
Related forms
cliff dwelling, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for cliff-dweller
Historical Examples
  • To the rear of the front row of rooms was a large chamber heaped with cliff-dweller mummies.

    Bloom of Cactus Robert Ames Bennet
  • The designs are similar to those found on cliff-dweller pottery.

  • A square figure with interior parallel squares extending to the center is also found, as elsewhere, in cliff-dweller pictography.

  • I believe I've neglected to say that there is a dimple in my chin, and Uncle Lancelot's spirit is a cliff-dweller living there.

    Amazing Grace Kate Trimble Sharber
  • In the West this swallow is wholly a cliff-dweller, but it has learned to modify its home in different localities.

    Bird Neighbors Neltje Blanchan
  • The cliff-dweller country supports a scant vegetation—a few cottonwood in the washes, a few cedars on the mesas.

  • He had gathered up a whole chestful of cliff-dweller relics which he meant to take back to Germany with him some day.

    Song of the Lark Willa Cather
  • I remember once when we were having dinner somewhere you kept asking me about the cliff-dweller ruins.

    Song of the Lark Willa Cather
  • Contrast the wren with the phœbe, a cliff-dweller, loving the contact of the ledge itself better than any bush or tree.

    In the Open Stanton Davis Kirkham
  • One cony had a series of connected rooms, enough almost for a cliff-dweller city.

    Watched by Wild Animals Enos A. Mills

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