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[kool-wahr; French koo-lwar] /kulˈwɑr; French kuˈlwar/
noun, plural couloirs
[kool-wahrz; French koo-lwar] /kulˈwɑrz; French kuˈlwar/ (Show IPA)
a steep gorge or gully on the side of a mountain, especially in the Alps.
Origin of couloir
1850-55; < French: literally, colander < Late Latin cōlātōrium strainer, equivalent to Latin cōlā(re) to strain, filter + -tōrium -tory2; see coulee Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for couloir
Historical Examples
  • We resolved, then, to risk the short stretch across the couloir.

    True Tales of Mountain Adventures Mrs. Aubrey Le Blond
  • Just below him lay the longest ice-slope, or couloir, he had hitherto encountered.

    Rivers of Ice R.M. Ballantyne
  • A few minutes more, and he stood at the foot of the couloir.

    Rivers of Ice R.M. Ballantyne
  • We climbed down into the couloir: the ice was furrowed by avalanches.

    True Tales of Mountain Adventures Mrs. Aubrey Le Blond
  • We ascended the rocks once more, continued along them for some time, and then deviated to the couloir on our left.

  • Soon after this we quitted our ridge and dropped into a couloir to the left of it.

  • It was also proposed to vary the proceedings by assailing the ridge by the couloir nearest to Monte Rosa.

  • We reached the rocks to the right of the couloir and climbed them for some distance.

  • A slight hint at the dangers to which the climber is exposed was afforded just before they had left the couloir for the shoulder.

    The Spell of Switzerland Nathan Haskell Dole
  • Bruce and the Gurkhas were below the rib, and could only see up the couloir.

British Dictionary definitions for couloir


/ˈkuːlwɑː; French kulwar/
a deep gully on a mountain side, esp in the French Alps
Word Origin
C19: from French: corridor, from couler to pour; see coulee
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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