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[skree] /skri/
a steep mass of detritus on the side of a mountain.
Origin of scree
1775-85; < Old Norse skritha landslide Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for scree
  • We keep one eye on a group crossing a scree slope, the other eye on the cliffs at its top.
  • We stay above the river, crossing avalanche scree and frozen marshes on numbing feet.
  • The top of the escarpment was composed of crumbling columns of hardened lava, the bottom a steep incline of rock and scree.
  • Beyond it was a steep hill, and past the hill a depression of scree and weed and stunted firs.
  • The rest of us followed well-worn sheep paths uphill-scrambling over rocks, slipping on pebbly scree.
  • The canyon walls are dauntingly steep, sending a few of us sliding downhill in small avalanches of scree.
  • Six of the crew deployed their shelters in the rock scree.
  • Also included are unstable scree and talus that typically occur below cliff faces.
British Dictionary definitions for scree


an accumulation of weathered rock fragments at the foot of a cliff or hillside, often forming a sloping heap Also called talus
Word Origin
Old English scrīthan to slip; related to Old Norse skrītha to slide, German schreiten to walk
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 scree

"pile of debris at the base of a cliff," 1781, back-formation from screes (plural) "pebbles, small stones," from Old Norse skriða "landslide," from skriða "to creep, crawl;" of a ship, "to sail, glide," also "to slide" (on snow-shoes), from Proto-Germanic *skrithanan (cf. Old English scriþan "to go, glide," Old Saxon skridan, Dutch schrijden, Old High German scritan, German schreiten "to stride").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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