[kawr-dl-yair-uhz, -air-, kawr-dil-er-uhz; Spanish kawr-thee-ye-rahs for 1]
a mountain system in W South America: the Andes and its component ranges.
a mountain system in W North America, including the Sierra Nevada, Coast Range, Cascade Range, and Rocky Mountains.
the entire chain of mountain ranges parallel to the Pacific coast, extending from Cape Horn to Alaska.

Cordilleran, adjective
trans-Cordilleran, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
Cordilleras (ˌkɔːdɪlˈjɛərəz, Spanish korðiˈʎeras)
pl n
the Cordilleras the complex of mountain ranges on the W side of the Americas, extending from Alaska to Cape Horn and including the Andes and the Rocky Mountains

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1704, from Sp., "mountain chain," from cordilla, in O.Sp. "string, rope," dim. of cuerda, from L. chorda "cord, rope" (see cord).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
cordillera   (kôr'dl-yâr'ə)  Pronunciation Key 
A long and wide chain of mountains, especially the main mountain range of a large landmass. Cordilleras can include the valleys, basins, rivers, lakes, plains, and plateaus between parallel chains of a single mountain system, or they can consist solely of a string of connected mountain peaks.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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