si·​er·​ra | \ sē-ˈer-ə How to pronounce sierra (audio) \

Definition of sierra

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a range of mountains especially with a serrated or irregular outline
b : the country about a sierra
2 : any of several large scombroid fishes (genus Scomberomorus) related to the mackerel


communications code word

Definition of Sierra (Entry 2 of 2)

used as a code word for the letter s

Examples of sierra in a Sentence

Noun The Sierra Nevada is a mountain range in California.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Newell Convers Wyeth, better known as N.C. Wyeth (1882-1945), was in later life a mountain of a man—over 300 pounds—and was also a sierra of talent and personal troubles. Peter Plagens, WSJ, "Everyday Life in Perfect Balance," 6 Mar. 2020 South of Lake Tahoe on the Carson Pass Trail, the month of July unfolds a colorful landscape of cheerful blue flax, Indian paintbrush, showy clusters of scarlet gilia, and the waxy, orange and spotted faces of the sierra lilies. Matt Ritter, Sunset Magazine, "Find the Real Super Blooms This Summer with the Ultimate Floral Road Trip," 6 Mar. 2020 Numb to greatness, a humdrum appreciation comes with his sierra of staggering statistics. Paul Coro,, "'I’m like fine wine. I get better with age': After 15 seasons, LeBron James not slowing down," 17 Mar. 2018 Image Before Maria, the mountainside here would have been in shade, a canopy of sierra palm fronds and leafy branches of yagrumo trees and others blocking much of the sunlight. New York Times, "Forests Protect the Climate. A Future With More Storms Would Mean Trouble.," 7 Mar. 2018 Ingredients such as smoked sierra, cochayuyo algae and breads baked rescoldo, a Mapuche method for cooking in ash and embers, all find their way into the sandwiches at Capicúa, also in Providencia. New York Times, "New Riffs on Santiago’s Old-School Sandwich Shops," 30 Nov. 2017 Then a couple of years later, in 1984, two American anthropologists—including Stephen Athens, a rising star in the archaeology of Ecuador’s northern sierra—showed up. Naomi Renee Cohen, Slate Magazine, "The Civilization in the Backyard," 15 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sierra.' 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 sierra


1600, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Communications code word

1952, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for sierra


Spanish, literally, saw, from Latin serra

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Time Traveler for sierra

Time Traveler

The first known use of sierra was in 1600

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Statistics for sierra

Cite this Entry

“Sierra.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for sierra


How to pronounce Sierra (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of sierra

: a range of mountains with sharply pointed peaks
: a mountain in a sierra


si·​er·​ra | \ sē-ˈer-ə How to pronounce sierra (audio) \

Kids Definition of sierra

: a range of mountains especially with jagged peaks

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More from Merriam-Webster on sierra

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sierra

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sierra

Spanish Central: Translation of sierra Encyclopedia article about sierra

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