El Dorado


El Do·​ra·​do ˌel-də-ˈrä-(ˌ)dō How to pronounce El Dorado (audio)
: a city or country of fabulous riches held by 16th century explorers to exist in South America
: a place of fabulous wealth or opportunity

Did you know?

In the early 1500s, Spanish conquistadores heard tales of an Amazonian king who regularly coated his body with gold dust, then plunged into a nearby lake to wash it off while being showered with gold and jewels thrown by his subjects. The Spaniards called the city ruled by this flamboyant monarch El Dorado, Spanish for "gilded one," and the story of the gold-covered king eventually grew into a legend of a whole country paved with gold. These days, El Dorado can also used generically for any place of vast riches, abundance, or opportunity. It is also the name of actual cities in Arkansas and Kansas.

Examples of El Dorado in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web La Mirada 6, El Dorado 2: Travis Friend had two hits and four RBIs for La Mirada (1-2). Eric Sondheimer, Los Angeles Times, 16 Feb. 2024 The singer’s last album, El Dorado, arrived in 2017 and featured collaborations with Maluma, Nicky Jam, Prince Royce, Carlos Vives, and more. Larisha Paul, Rolling Stone, 15 Feb. 2024 The blaze grew into the El Dorado Fire, which forced hundreds of residents to evacuate, destroyed five homes and 15 buildings, injured 13 people and killed a firefighter, the outlet reported. Brooke Baitinger, Sacramento Bee, 13 Feb. 2024 Her father was in a country band called El Dorado, which opened for musicians including Tanya Tucker. Hanif Abdurraqib, The New Yorker, 9 Feb. 2024 Milestone, a rustic romantic spot with a large lighted patio in El Dorado Hills northeast of Sacramento, ranked No. 34. Linda Zavoral, The Mercury News, 8 Feb. 2024 This is a true rarity in the rum world that has been in use for nearly 300 years, and is used to produce El Dorado Rum. Jonah Flicker, Robb Report, 6 Feb. 2024 The high-style, low-slung bungalow was designed by award-winning architecture firm El Dorado and featured in such illustrious national magazines as Architectural Digest and Dwell. Cynthia Billhartz Gregorian, Kansas City Star, 31 Jan. 2024 The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office requested assistance from South Lake Tahoe Fire Rescue when she was found, fire and rescue spokesperson Marshal Kim George told CNN. Zoe Sottile, CNN, 28 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'El Dorado.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Spanish, literally, the gilded one

First Known Use

1596, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of El Dorado was in 1596


Dictionary Entries Near El Dorado

Cite this Entry

“El Dorado.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/El%20Dorado. Accessed 5 Mar. 2024.

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