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See also: Mountain


A mountain (large mass of rock)


From Middle English mountayne, 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); while partially displaced non-native Old English munt from Latin mons, (whence English mount).



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.
    • 2016 October 16, John Oliver, “Third Parties”, in Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, season 3, episode 26, HBO:
      Okay… Okay, I-I-I’m still a little confused here. Did you actually climb Mount Everest? Or did you just dry-hump the side of it and then go home? “It was great! Now smell my finger! There’s still some mountain air on it!” What is wrong with you⁉
    • 2016 October 16, John Oliver, “Third Parties”, in Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, season 3, episode 26, HBO:
      Okay, for the record, and this is probably obvious, those three departments do actually do things of value, assuming that you find Pell grants, mortgage insurance, low-income housing programs, the National Weather Service, the Patent and Trademark Office, and the Census Bureau to be of some value. And if it comes as news to you that that’s what those departments do, well then, hi Gary, I’m excited you’re watching the show. Uh, quick piece of advice, please stop trying to fuck mountains!
    • 2016 October 16, John Oliver, “Third Parties”, in Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, season 3, episode 26, HBO:
      Anyone who goes into a voting booth on November the 8th and comes out saying, “I feel a hundred percent great about what I just did in there!,” is either lying to themselves, or did something unspeakable in that booth! And that means, as uncomfortable as this is, everyone has to own the floors of whoever you vote for, whether they are a lying handsy narcissistic sociopath, a hawkish Wall Street-friendly embodiment of everything that some people can’t stand about politics, an ill-tempered mountain molester with a radical dangerous tax plan that even he can’t defend, or a conspiracy-pandering political neophyte with no clear understanding of how government operates and who once recorded this folk rap about the virtues of bicycling.
  2. A large amount.
    There's still a mountain of work to do.
  3. A very large person or thing.
    He was a real mountain of a man, standing seven feet tall.
  4. (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.
  5. (slang) A woman's large breast.
  6. (cartomancy) The twenty-first Lenormand card.
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.

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]


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


Middle English[edit]



  1. Alternative form of mountayne