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A mountain (large mass of rock)


From Middle English mountain, montaigne, from Anglo-Norman muntaine, muntaigne, from Old French montaigne, from Vulgar Latin *montānea, feminine of *montāneus (mountainous), alteration of Latin montānus, from mōns (mountain), from Proto-Indo-European *monti (compare Welsh mynydd (mountain), Albanian mat (bank, shore), Avestan 𐬨𐬀𐬙𐬌 (mati, promontory)), from *men- (to project, stick out). Displaced native Middle English berwe, bergh, from Old English beorg (whence English barrow).



mountain (plural mountains)

  1. A large mass of earth and rock, rising above the common level of the earth or adjacent land, usually given by geographers as above 1000 feet in height (or 304.8 metres), though such masses may still be described as hills in comparison with larger mountains.
    Everest is the highest mountain in the world.
    We spent the weekend hiking in the mountains.
  2. A large amount.
    There's still a mountain of work to do.
  3. (figuratively) A difficult task or challenge.
    • 2011 October 1, Phil Dawkes, “Sunderland 2 - 2 West Brom”, in BBC Sport[1]:
      Five minutes into the game the Black Cats were facing a mountain, partly because of West Brom's newly-found ruthlessness in front of goal but also as a result of the home side's defensive generosity.
  4. (figuratively) A thick breast of a lady.
Usage notes[edit]

As with the names of rivers and lakes, the names of mountains are typically formed by adding the generic word before or after the unique term. In the case of mountains, when the word precedes the unique term, mount is used: Mount Olympus, Mount Everest, Mount Tai; when the word follows the unique term, mountain is used: Crowfoot Mountain, Blue Mountain, Rugged Mountain. Generally speaking, such names will be adjectives or attributive nouns, but many foreign placenames formed with adjectives—as China's Huashan—are translated as though they were proper names: Mount Hua instead of Hua Mountain or Flourishing Mountain.

Mountain chains are never named with mount, only with mountains, a translated term, or a pluralized name.

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Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ mountain” in Unabridged,, LLC, 1995–.,
  2. ^ OALD