cor·​dil·​le·​ra ˌkȯr-dᵊl-ˈyer-ə How to pronounce cordillera (audio)
 also  kȯr-ˈdi-lə-rə
: a system of mountain ranges often consisting of a number of more or less parallel chains
ˌkȯr-dᵊl-ˈyer-ən How to pronounce cordillera (audio)
 also  kȯr-ˈdi-lə-rən

Examples of cordillera in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Among the displays are ceramic figures, scale models and paintings that narrate indigenous traditions in the Andes cordillera, from the first settlements dating back 15,000 years to the birth of the Tiwanaku state and the rise of the Incan empire. Washington Post, 20 Sep. 2019 Away to the west, mountains rode the horizons, granite faced, severe, not the Andes yet, but the cordillera of the pre-Andes. Stanley Stewart, Condé Nast Traveler, 22 Aug. 2019 The plane carrying the coffin with Paloma’s mother is rerouted to Argentina, and the three rent a hearse and cross the cordillera to find her. Sean McCoy, Los Angeles Times, 18 July 2019 Since the resort has an idyllic vantage point at the foothills of the Truong Son mountains (part of the dense Annamese cordillera), the setting makes for noteworthy Instagram shots. Condé Nast Traveler, 20 Oct. 2017 Local media published photos of teenagers and children among the group playing in the snow in the Andes mountains cordilleras on their way home. Washington Post, 26 June 2017

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

Word History


borrowed from Spanish, from cuerda "string, rope, line of mountain peaks" (going back to Latin chorda, corda "tripe, string of a musical instrument") + -ill-, diminutive suffix (going back to Latin -illus) + -era, suffix of place (going back to Latin -āria, feminine of -ārius -ary entry 1) — more at cord entry 1

Note: Spanish cordillera is apparently not formed directly from cordilla "tripe used as animal food," or from dialectal cordal "mountain chain."

First Known Use

1704, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of cordillera was in 1704

Dictionary Entries Near cordillera

Cite this Entry

“Cordillera.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Dec. 2023.

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