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[kawr-dn] /ˈkɔr dn/
a line of police, sentinels, military posts, warships, etc., enclosing or guarding an area.
a cord or braid worn for ornament or as a fastening.
a ribbon worn usually diagonally across the breast as a badge of a knightly or honorary order.
  1. a projecting course of stones at the base of a parapet.
  2. the coping of a scarp.
  1. a stringcourse, especially one having little or no projection.
  2. a cut-stone riser on a stepped ramp or the like.
a fruit tree or shrub trained to grow along a support or a series of such supports.
verb (used with object)
to surround or blockade with or as with a cordon (usually followed by off):
The police cordoned off the street.
1400-50; Middle English < Middle French, diminutive of corde Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for cordoned
  • Stahl heard the crash and wandered up to the site where he took the photo before the area was cordoned off by rescue workers.
  • He had to wait a few minutes for his pat-down, in a cordoned-off area about a yard square right next to the x-ray machine.
  • The scene was cordoned off and an investigation begun.
  • The exhibition was cordoned off and visitors had to walk carefully around the perimeter.
  • Police officers in riot gear cordoned off the area after the bombing, and the injured were taken to nearby hospitals.
  • For the time being, the building is essentially off limits because the city has cordoned off the street outside.
  • Authorities have cordoned off each of the locations.
  • Out of an abundance of caution, the area has been cordoned off and the residence was evacuated.
  • Police evacuated the apartment building and cordoned off the area.
  • Notice will be given that sites will be cordoned off and quarantined.
British Dictionary definitions for cordoned


a chain of police, soldiers, ships, etc, stationed around an area
a ribbon worn as insignia of honour or rank
a cord or ribbon worn as an ornament or fastening
(architect) Also called string course, belt course, table. an ornamental projecting band or continuous moulding along a wall
(horticulture) a form of fruit tree consisting of a single stem bearing fruiting spurs, produced by cutting back all lateral branches
(transitive) often foll by off. to put or form a cordon (around); close (off)
Word Origin
C16: from Old French, literally: a little cord, from corde string, cord
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for cordoned



mid-15c., "cord or ribbon worn as an ornament," from Middle French cordon "ribbon," diminutive of Old French 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," literally "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 French, a guarded line between infected and uninfected districts.


1560s, "to ornament with a ribbon;" 1891 as "to guard with a cordon;" from cordon (n.). Related: Cordoned; cordoning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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