mas·​sif | \ma-ˈsēf \

Definition of massif 

1 : a principal mountain mass

2 : a block of the earth's crust bounded by faults or flexures and displaced as a unit without internal change

Examples of massif in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The seven-peak granite massif lies ten miles north of Juneau. Matt Skenazy, Outside Online, "The Last Days of Marc-André Leclerc," 19 June 2018 But Keb also stands for the region the massif resides in. Outside Online, "A Trekker’s Guide to Sweden," 7 June 2018 Striking from any angle, especially when viewed from Tiger Leaping Gorge, this massif is also stunning when seen from the Black Dragon Pool Park in Lijiang. Mei Zhang, Town & Country, "How to Plan a Trip to China," 5 Oct. 2016 Flaming logs crack open, echoing through central Sardinia’s rugged massifs and twisting valleys, shooting sparks toward a solemn mass of spectators. Eliot Stein, Condé Nast Traveler, "A Pagan Exorcism in Sardinia," 29 Mar. 2018 Oui j’ai pris la photo dans le sud de la France (à proximité du massif des Albères (pas très loin du Canigou), dans les Pyrénées-Orientales). Kathryn Prociv, Washington Post, "Qui vivra verra! Two rare cloud types, lenticular and Kelvin-Helmholtz, hover over France.," 26 Jan. 2018 Fossey did her work in what is now Rwanda’s Parc National des Volcans, a beautiful and misty national park on the slopes of the volcanic Virunga massif, spanning three countries including Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Larry Olmsted, USA TODAY, "Amazing wildlife adventures: Gorilla trekking in Rwanda," 3 Oct. 2017 It is located right in the heart of the Mont Blanc massif, one of the largest mountain ranges in Europe. Priya Krishna, GQ, "Courmayeur Is Northern Italy's Hidden Treasure—and the Perfect Mountain Vacation," 16 Sep. 2017 Jebel Al Dair Biosphere Reserve (Sudan)—This reserve is constituted of the Al Dair massif, composed of dry savannah woodlands, forested ecosystems and a network of streams. Alex Treadway, National Geographic, "UN Announces 23 New Nature Reserves While U.S. Removes 17," 14 June 2017

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

See More

First Known Use of massif

1873, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for massif

French, from massif, adjective, from Middle French, alteration of Old French massiz

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about massif

Statistics for massif

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for massif

The first known use of massif was in 1873

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on massif

See words that rhyme with massif

Comments on massif

What made you want to look up massif? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


something that serves to warn or remind

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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