noun \ˈmā-sə\

: a hill that has a flat top and steep sides and that is found in the southwestern U.S.

Full Definition of MESA

:  an isolated relatively flat-topped natural elevation usually more extensive than a butte and less extensive than a plateau; also :  a broad terrace with an abrupt slope on one side :  bench

Examples of MESA

  1. <a mesa in the Arizona desert>

Origin of MESA

Spanish, literally, table, from Latin mensa
First Known Use: 1840

Related to MESA

Other Geology Terms

anthracite, boulder, cwm, erratic, igneous, intrusive, sedimentary, silt, swale

Rhymes with MESA


geographical name \ˈmā-sə\

Definition of MESA

city SW cen Arizona E of Phoenix pop 439,041

Rhymes with MESA


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

(Spanish: “table”) Flat-topped tableland with one or more steep sides, common in the Colorado Plateau regions of the U.S.; a butte is similar but smaller. Both are formed by erosion; during denudation, or downcutting and stripping, areas of harder rock in a plateau act as flat protective caps for portions of underlying land situated between such places as stream valleys, where erosion is especially active. This results in a table mountain (mesa) or fortress hill.


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