cordillera

[kawr-dl-yair-uh, -air-uh, kawr-dil-er-uh]
noun
a chain of mountains, usually the principal mountain system or mountain axis of a large landmass.

Origin:
1695–1705; < Spanish, derivative of cordilla, diminutive of cuerda string, mountain range (< Latin chorda); see cord

cordilleran, adjective
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World English Dictionary
cordillera (ˌkɔːdɪlˈjɛərə)
 
n
a series of parallel ranges of mountains, esp in the northwestern US
 
[C18: from Spanish, from cordilla, literally: a little cord, from cuerda mountain range, cord]
 
cordil'leran
 
adj

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

cordillera
1704, from Sp., "mountain chain," from cordilla, in O.Sp. "string, rope," dim. of cuerda, from L. chorda "cord, rope" (see cord).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
cordillera   (kôr'dl-yâr'ə)  Pronunciation Key 
A long and wide chain of mountains, especially the main mountain range of a large landmass. Cordilleras can include the valleys, basins, rivers, lakes, plains, and plateaus between parallel chains of a single mountain system, or they can consist solely of a string of connected mountain peaks.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

cordillera

(from old Spanish cordilla, "cord," or "little rope"), a system of mountain ranges that often consist of a number of more or less parallel chains. Cordilleras are an extensive feature in the Americas and Eurasia. In North America the Rocky Mountains, the Sierra Nevadas, and the mountains between them are collectively known as the Cordilleras, and the entire area has been termed the Cordilleran region. The term Cordillera is used with a directional modifier (e.g., Cordillera Oriental) to differentiate the various chains of the Andes Mountains as they extend through Colombia, Venezuela, Bolivia, and other countries in South America.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
Cordillera also has three championship golf courses and a cross-country ski center.
Moister-than-present conditions in the south-central cordillera.
The cordillera is characterized by rainy and dry seasons that are accentuated toward the south.
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