es·​carp·​ment i-ˈskärp-mənt How to pronounce escarpment (audio)
: a steep slope in front of a fortification
: a long cliff or steep slope separating two comparatively level or more gently sloping surfaces and resulting from erosion or faulting

Examples of escarpment in a Sentence

the castle sits atop an escarpment that for hundreds of years made it virtually invulnerable to attack
Recent Examples on the Web Jim Jim Falls — Australia These Australian falls drop over a rocky escarpment to the earth 656 feet below. Evie Carrick, Travel + Leisure, 4 May 2024 The projects were to span nearly 40 linear miles on Black Mesa’s northeastern escarpment. The Arizona Republic, 23 Feb. 2024 Once inside, the route ducks among vertical escarpments, oddly balanced rocks and contorted pillars. Mare Czinar, The Arizona Republic, 7 Mar. 2024 In the Hottentots Holland mountain range this month, the revs of their chain saws echoed down the escarpment. Katharine Houreld, Washington Post, 28 Feb. 2024 The priest looked across the waters and saw São Miguel up ahead, a line of shacks rising upon an escarpment. Bishop Sand, Washington Post, 17 Feb. 2024 The contrasting landscapes here, including coral coastlines, vast floodplains, rocky escarpments, and the ochre sands of the outback, are astounding. Drew Kluska, Travel + Leisure, 25 Nov. 2023 It had been carved through an escarpment, forming a deep chasm with tall rocky cliffs on both sides. Nathan Thrall, Curbed, 25 Oct. 2023 Ethiopia’s Rift Valley became a very complex environment, with woods and highlands, ridges, steep escarpments, hills, plateaus and plains, valleys, and deep freshwater lakes on the floor of the rift, which was gradually widening. Jeff Goodell, Time, 6 July 2023

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

Word History


French escarpement, from escarper to scarp, from Middle French, from escarpe scarp, from Old Italian scarpa — more at scarp

First Known Use

circa 1802, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of escarpment was circa 1802

Dictionary Entries Near escarpment

Cite this Entry

“Escarpment.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


es·​carp·​ment is-ˈkärp-mənt How to pronounce escarpment (audio)
: a steep slope in front of a fort or defensive area
: a long cliff

More from Merriam-Webster on escarpment

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