in·​sel·​berg ˈin(t)-səl-ˌbərg How to pronounce inselberg (audio)
plural inselbergs also inselberge ˈin(t)-səl-ˌbər-gə How to pronounce inselberg (audio)
: an isolated mountain

Did you know?

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

Word History


German, from Insel island + Berg mountain

First Known Use

1913, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of inselberg was in 1913


Dictionary Entries Near inselberg

Cite this Entry

“Inselberg.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Sep. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on inselberg

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!