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si·​er·​ra sē-ˈer-ə How to pronounce sierra (audio)
: a range of mountains especially with a serrated or irregular outline
: the country about a sierra
: any of several large scombroid fishes (genus Scomberomorus) related to the mackerel


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communications code word

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
In most parts of the city, the sierras of Hefty will be replaced by toy-soldier lines of plastic cans. Justin Davidson, Curbed, 12 Dec. 2023 Facial moles like cacti in the sierra, front-tooth gaps like keyhole nebulae. Vinson Cunningham, The New Yorker, 14 Nov. 2022 Part of that brewing apocalypse was on show in late October in scenes shot at a masia, a traditionally farmsteads reconverted into a family home, in a placid mini-sierra of abrupt forested hills an hour’s drive south of Barcelona. John Hopewell, Variety, 11 Nov. 2022 Web cams pointed at Yosemite Valley’s famous granite features, including Half Dome and El Capitan, showed the high sierra landscape completely smoked out, with terrible visibility, on Thursday afternoon. Gregory Thomas,, 17 Sep. 2020 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, 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, 6 Mar. 2020 Numb to greatness, a humdrum appreciation comes with his sierra of staggering statistics. Paul Coro,, 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, 7 Mar. 2018

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

Word History



Spanish, literally, saw, from Latin serra

First Known Use


1600, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Communications Code Word

1952, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of sierra was in 1600

Dictionary Entries Near sierra

Cite this Entry

“Sierra.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


si·​er·​ra sē-ˈer-ə How to pronounce sierra (audio)
: a range of mountains especially with jagged peaks


from Spanish sierra "a range of jagged mountains," literally, "a saw," from Latin serra "a saw" — related to serrated

More from Merriam-Webster on sierra

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