me·​sa | \ ˈmā-sə How to pronounce mesa (audio) \

Definition of mesa

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an isolated relatively flat-topped natural elevation usually more extensive than a butte and less extensive than a plateau also : a broad terrace with an abrupt slope on one side : bench


geographical name
Me·​sa | \ ˈmā-sə How to pronounce Mesa (audio) \

Definition of Mesa (Entry 2 of 2)

city east of Phoenix in southwest central Arizona population 439,041

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Synonyms for mesa

Synonyms: Noun

altiplano, plateau, table, tableland

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Examples of mesa in a Sentence


a mesa in the Arizona desert

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The land gradually reddens where it’s been tilled, but in a few hours nobody’s tilling anymore and the surface is all brown scrub, with an occasional mesa, or koppie, floating against the horizon. Gregory Barber, WIRED, "Inside an All-White Town’s Divisive Experiment With Cryptocurrency," 6 June 2019 The American Southwest is riddled with evidence of native tribes living among the mesa cliffs of the region. Freddie Wilkinson, National Geographic, "Rock climbing: from ancient practice to Olympic sport," 14 Mar. 2019 With lakes of methane standing atop mesa-like structures, Titan's own mysteries are only growing. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Cassini Found That Titan Has Lakes of Methane Resting on Giant Mesas," 16 Apr. 2019 From this one mesa, Trader has witnessed two of the most destructive fires in American history. Kyle Dickman, Outside Online, "What If Our Forests Don't Come Back?," 9 May 2018 Soon these will give way to starker vistas of tenuous grassland and hogback mesa. Guy Trebay, Condé Nast Traveler, "In the Heart of Navajo Lands," 19 Oct. 2018 Trader was near this same mesa on May 10, 2000, when a prescribed fire lit inside the monument escaped its lines and destroyed 235 homes in the nearby town of Los Alamos. Kyle Dickman, Outside Online, "What If Our Forests Don't Come Back?," 9 May 2018 Rifts and mesas lifted, fell, vanished, then reappeared. Porter Fox, Outside Online, "Exploring America's Forgotten Border," 1 June 2018 Also: The spare but expensive boutique hotel furnishings of the observation pod were a gorgeous visual change-up from the dusty mesa locales of the park. William Lee,, "‘Westworld’ Episode 4 recap: 5 things to know about ‘The Riddle of the Sphinx’," 14 May 2018

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

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First Known Use of mesa


1840, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for mesa


Spanish, literally, table, from Latin mensa

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Dictionary Entries near mesa






Mesabi Range


Statistics for mesa

Last Updated

21 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for mesa

The first known use of mesa was in 1840

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English Language Learners Definition of mesa

: a hill that has a flat top and steep sides and that is found in the southwestern U.S.


me·​sa | \ ˈmā-sə How to pronounce mesa (audio) \

Kids Definition of mesa

: a hill with a flat top and steep sides

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More from Merriam-Webster on mesa

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with mesa

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for mesa

Spanish Central: Translation of mesa

Nglish: Translation of mesa for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about mesa

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