cordon sanitaire


cor·​don sa·​ni·​taire kȯr-ˌdōⁿ-sä-nē-ˈter How to pronounce cordon sanitaire (audio)
: a protective barrier (as of buffer states) against a potentially aggressive nation or a dangerous influence (such as an ideology)

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Are those who want a cordon sanitaire against these sorts of cultural values without any foundation in reality? Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 13 Nov. 2010 Last year’s event operated largely behind a cordon sanitaire and without many foreign participants. Naman Ramachandran, Variety, 5 Oct. 2022 Indeed, the very fact that the U.S. is sending troops to Romania and Poland, creating in effect a cordon sanitaire, shows that Biden is far more concerned about spillover from a war in Ukraine than Ukraine itself. Michael A. Cohen, The New Republic, 11 Feb. 2022 But no law requires that people fleeing political violence and natural disaster should be met by the militarized cordon sanitaire in South Texas. Alicia Schmidt Camacho, The New Yorker, 19 Jan. 2022 Ron Trewyn told us of one sheriff—the exception, rather than the rule—who had mapped the optimal locations for the 40 roadblocks needed to create a cordon sanitaire, quarantining his entire county in the event of an outbreak. Nicola Twille, Wired, 6 July 2021 Plum Island has the advantage of a natural cordon sanitaire—the ocean. Nicola Twille, Wired, 6 July 2021 It was confidently assumed that coffee rust could not cross the cordon sanitaire of the Atlantic. Maryn Mckenna, The Atlantic, 16 Sep. 2020 The cordon sanitaire around Eyam was similar to controls imposed by local magistrates on a number of parishes and villages in the 1660s. 1843, 16 Apr. 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cordon sanitaire.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


borrowed from French, literally, "sanitary cordon," originally in reference to a line of military posts or other barriers enclosing a community stricken by an infectious disease

First Known Use

1920, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of cordon sanitaire was in 1920

Dictionary Entries Near cordon sanitaire

Cite this Entry

“Cordon sanitaire.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Mar. 2023.

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