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[ih-skahrp-muh nt] /ɪˈskɑrp mənt/
Geology. a long, precipitous, clifflike ridge of land, rock, or the like, commonly formed by faulting or fracturing of the earth's crust.
Compare scarp1 (def 1).
ground cut into an escarp around a fortification or defensive position.
Origin of escarpment
1795-1805; < French escarpement. See escarp, -ment Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for escarpment
  • Century barn a winding road down the escarpment to the water.
  • Water runs down an escarpment towards people's homes below.
  • From the harbor level the town rises to an escarpment that drops to the sea.
  • There were no sounds, except an evening wind whipping up the escarpment.
  • Farther inland, every sandstone and limestone escarpment is the color of bone.
  • The top of the escarpment was composed of crumbling columns of hardened lava, the bottom a steep incline of rock and scree.
  • It also appears to be not as steep as the opposite escarpment.
  • They are standing on the escarpment, by a sharp drop.
  • We began picking our way up the rippling sandstone escarpment, now turning red in the afternoon sun.
  • The steep gradient includes waterfalls, where the streams drop over the escarpment.
British Dictionary definitions for escarpment


  1. the long continuous steep face of a ridge or plateau formed by erosion; scarp
  2. any steep slope, such as one resulting from faulting
a steep artificial slope immediately in front of the rampart of a fortified place
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 escarpment

1802, from French escarpment, from escarper "make into a steep slope," from escarpe "slope," from Italian scarpa (see scarp). Earlier in same sense was escarp.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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escarpment in Science
A steep slope or long cliff formed by erosion or by vertical movement of the Earth's crust along a fault. Escarpments separate two relatively level areas of land. The term is often used interchangeably with scarp but is more accurately associated with cliffs produced by erosional processes rather than those produced by faulting.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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