Definition of col in English:



  • 1The lowest point of a ridge or saddle between two peaks, typically providing a pass from one side of a mountain range to another.

    • ‘For the next few days we based ourselves at the hut as we made forays up the valley, wading through deep fresh snow to explore some of the cols, ridges and side valleys.’
    • ‘While hauling your gear and food from hut to hut, you'll be learning to negotiate crevasses, ice falls, and high cols - skills you'll need for future, unguided trips.’
    • ‘Beyond the scree we turned the side of the saddle and there, ahead of us, in a col surrounded by the white flanks of the Kedarnath peaks, stood the temple, one of the most sacred structures in India.’
    • ‘Although it will be cool in the evenings on the cols and ridges, the days should be mild.’
    • ‘We cut down into a rocky col and started up the second peak.’
    • ‘Anticipating a windscoured ridge, we left our crampons and axes in the col at the top of the chute.’
    • ‘Over the wall, the path gently falls to a col with the rock face of Side Pike ahead.’
    • ‘Continuing steadily upwards now, the route leads to a small col which overlooks the dark and brooding Loch Enoch, complete with its reflections of Mullwharchar which rises beyond.’
    • ‘They can often encounter all on the same special stage as the route climbs and descends mountain cols, switching from southern facing roads sheltered from the extreme weather to exposed northern ones.’
    • ‘In decent weather and with the longer daylight hours of summer you could continue on the ridge as far as the col before Benshaw Hill where a footpath drops down directly to Kingledoors.’
    • ‘Through brief windows in the clouds we could see the ridge dropping to a col and rising again to two higher summits.’
    • ‘Take an ascending NE line round the S slopes of Firthhope Rig to the col between it and White Coomb.’
    • ‘From the col, the ridge climbs and then levels out again into a tight area of mossy grass before it steepens appreciably into its final fling.’
    • ‘Return to the col and walk along to centre peak: a steady nerve is required to reach the summit.’
    • ‘It then continues below the N face of the hill before finally climbing to a col on the summit ridge.’
    • ‘Head NE from the summit cairn to pick up the bulldozed track called Morton's Way and follow this along the NE ridge and down to a col below the Hill of Glenroads.’
    • ‘Some of the cols must indeed mark formerly active valleys that led westwards and southwards out of the basin prior to active infill, but we have found no evidence that Panorama gorge was shut off by footwall uplift during fault propagation.’
    • ‘The route included Col De Vars and Col de la Bonnette, plus numerous other cols.’
    • ‘There are several factors that determine how hard it is to climb a col and it can be much easier up one side than another.’
    • ‘Above us, waterfalls tumbled down the mountainside from glaciers that hung over the lip of high cols.’
    route, way, road, narrow road, passage, cut, gap, gorge, canyon, ravine, gully, defile, couloir
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  • 2Meteorology
    A region of slightly elevated pressure between two anticyclones.

    • ‘Thereafter the major system, which was present in the mid-Atlantic, weakened considerably and became little more than a col between the two anticyclones, one receding as the new one advanced.’


Mid 19th century: from French, literally ‘neck’, from Latin collum.