in·​sel·​berg | \ ˈin(t)-səl-ˌbərg How to pronounce inselberg (audio) , ˈin-zəl-, -ˌberg \
plural inselbergs also inselberge\ ˈin(t)-​səl-​ˌbər-​gə How to pronounce inselberg (audio) , ˈin-​zəl-​ , -​ˌber-​gə \

Definition of inselberg

: an isolated mountain

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Inselberg, which first appeared in English in 1913, comes from the German words Insel, meaning "island," and Berg, meaning "mountain," apparently because German explorers thought isolated mountains rising from the plains of southern Africa looked like islands in the midst of the ocean. Geologically speaking, an inselberg is a hill of hard volcanic rock that has resisted wind and weather and remained strong and tall as the land around it eroded away. Ayers Rock and Olga Rocks in central Australia are two spectacular examples of inselbergs. The word monadnock, derived from the name of Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire, is a synonym of "inselberg."

Examples of inselberg in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Geologists had suspected that these inselbergs, found in Brazil, Australia, and southern Africa, are old—enduring while erosion stripped away the surrounding landscape. Paul Voosen, Science | AAAS, 26 June 2019 Since the 1950s, more than 30 people have died climbing the sandstone inselberg, which juts up 1,142 feet from the surrounding plains. Deutsche Welle, USA TODAY, 1 Nov. 2017 This inselberg of nearly vertical Precambrian strata is about 2.5 kilometers long and more than 350 meters high 44. Brian Romans, WIRED, 14 Dec. 2008

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

First Known Use of inselberg

1913, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for inselberg

German, from Insel island + Berg mountain

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The first known use of inselberg was in 1913

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Cite this Entry

“Inselberg.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jul. 2022.

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