escarpment

[ih-skahrp-muhnt]
noun
1.
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 ).
2.
ground cut into an escarp around a fortification or defensive position.

Origin:
1795–1805; < French escarpement. See escarp, -ment

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

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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

escarpment
1802, from Fr. escarpment, from escarper "make into a steep slope," from escarpe "slope," from It. scarpa (see scarp).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
escarpment   (ĭ-skärp'mənt)  Pronunciation Key 
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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Example sentences
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.
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