Definition of cordon sanitaire in US English:

cordon sanitaire


  • 1A guarded line preventing anyone from leaving an area infected by a disease and thus spreading it.

    • ‘Why not destroy the cattle exhibiting the symptoms and produce a cordon sanitaire by vaccinating the sheep, whether they present the symptoms or not?’
    • ‘The village agreed to establish a cordon sanitaire around it that nobody was to cross for any reason until the disease had burned itself out.’
    1. 1.1 A measure designed to prevent communication or the spread of undesirable influences.
      ‘these rules help to reinforce the cordon sanitaire around the Pentagon’
      • ‘The bottom line: a cordon sanitaire between local law enforcement and immigration authorities that creates a safe haven for illegal criminals.’
    2. 1.2 A series or chain of small neutral buffer states around a larger, potentially dangerous or hostile state.


Mid 19th century: French, from cordon ‘line, border’ (see cordon) + sanitaire ‘sanitary’.


cordon sanitaire

/ˌkôrdôn ˌsänēˈter//ˌkɔrdɔn ˌsɑniˈtɛr/