cordon off

cordon

[kawr-dn]
noun
1.
a line of police, sentinels, military posts, warships, etc., enclosing or guarding an area.
2.
a cord or braid worn for ornament or as a fastening.
3.
a ribbon worn usually diagonally across the breast as a badge of a knightly or honorary order.
4.
Fortification.
a.
a projecting course of stones at the base of a parapet.
b.
the coping of a scarp.
5.
Architecture.
a.
a stringcourse, especially one having little or no projection.
b.
a cut-stone riser on a stepped ramp or the like.
6.
a fruit tree or shrub trained to grow along a support or a series of such supports.
verb (used with object)
7.
to surround or blockade with or as with a cordon (usually followed by off ): The police cordoned off the street.

Origin:
1400–50; Middle English < Middle French, diminutive of corde

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
cordon (ˈkɔːdən)
 
n
1.  a chain of police, soldiers, ships, etc, stationed around an area
2.  a ribbon worn as insignia of honour or rank
3.  a cord or ribbon worn as an ornament or fastening
4.  architect string course, belt course, Also called: table an ornamental projecting band or continuous moulding along a wall
5.  horticulture a form of fruit tree consisting of a single stem bearing fruiting spurs, produced by cutting back all lateral branches
 
vb (often foll by off)
6.  to put or form a cordon (around); close (off)
 
[C16: from Old French, literally: a little cord, from corde string, cord]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

cordon
1440, from M.Fr. cordon "ribbon," dim. of O.Fr. corde "cord" (see cord). Sense of "a line of people or things guarding something" is 1758. Original sense preserved in cordon bleu (1727) "the highest distinction," lit. "blue ribbon," for the sky-blue ribbon worn by the Knights-grand-cross
of the Holy Ghost (highest order of chivalry); extended figuratively to other persons of distinction, especially, jocularly, to a first-rate cook. Cordon sanitaire (1857), from Fr., a guarded line between infected and uninfected districts.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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