Definition of couloir
: a steep mountainside gorge
couloir was our Word of the Day on 10/12/2013. Hear the podcast!
Examples of couloir in a sentence
at one point the steep, ice-encrusted walls of the couloir are no more than 50 feet apart
Did You Know?
Couloir entered English in the 19th century from French, where it literally meant "passage." The term was originally applied specifically to steep gorges in the Alps and later to similar gorges elsewhere, especially ones used by skiers as passages down mountains. Because of their narrowness and steepness, couloirs can provide even expert skiers with some of the most challenging terrain they are likely to encounter-and they can be dangerous. In fact, journalist Jim Kochevar, writing of his experiences at the Telluride ski area for the Chicago Tribune in October 1997, declared (tongue in cheek) that "Couloir is French for 'cold, narrow place to die.'"
Origin and Etymology of couloir
French, literally, passage, from couler
First Known Use: 1822
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