Definition of scarp in English:



  • 1A very steep bank or slope; an escarpment.

    • ‘South of the valley the land rises onto the irregular low scarp of the Castlereagh Hills and rarely exceeds a height of 150m.’
    • ‘The 16 of us - 13 scientists, a two-man Colombian television crew, and our driver from the observatory, Carlos Estrada - moved to the lip of the scarp.’
    • ‘In this arid climate evaporites form; alluvial fans lie at the base of footwall scarps and carbonate reefs grow.’
    • ‘These scarps have evidently been produced by toe-cutting by axial Big Lost River channels.’
    • ‘The park has its origins in the early 1870s when a 175-hectare tract of land on the scarp overlooking the fledgling colonial settlement of Perth was designated as future public garden and parkland.’
    • ‘He developed a hypothesis for their formation called pediplanation in which slopes retreat parallel, leaving behind a series of generally flat surfaces separated by scarps.’
    • ‘The slopes are very steep in places, forming scarps.’
    • ‘On the long, steep scarp between the iron age hillfort above and ploughed fields below are white signs carved into the turf.’
    • ‘Any flank uplift would have shown the scarp to be significantly higher than a mid-valley outlier.’
    • ‘The fault structure was veneered by lava which was produced by the peripheral magma reservoirs and flowed down the scarp and into the lower central caldera.’
    • ‘Along these scarps, the earth stood between nine and twenty-one feet higher on one side than on the other.’
    • ‘In the east it commonly terminates against a prominent fault scarp.’
    • ‘The two men - both suffering minor burns, one with a broken hand - had made it to the top of the scarp.’
    • ‘We rode up the Sinai scarp by the pilgrim's granite-hewn road with its gradient of one in three and a half.’
    • ‘The eastward-facing horseshoe-shaped scarps of South Soufriere Hills volcano pose an unresolved problem.’
    • ‘Between the gap and the mountain was a wild and broken terrain of scarp and gorge.’
    • ‘The house, built around three sides of a courtyard and landscaped into a slope, looks out towards the Cotswold scarp.’
    • ‘I even discovered a humble cave, blasted into the scarp overlooking the sea.’
    • ‘The survey also revealed other visible evidence of the earthquake, including clearly developed scarps and cracks where the faults pass beneath glaciers.’
    • ‘He has taken over a pub a mile away from the Tontine in the recusant village of Osmotherley, high on the scarp of the moors.’
    hill, hillside, hillock, bank, rise, escarpment
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 The inner wall of a ditch in a fortification.
      Compare with counterscarp
      • ‘The look-out openings on the parapet and even the gun-holes that honeycomb the scarp, serve as ventilators.’
      • ‘More than 300 meters in diameter, Qala-i Jangi was of the style known as Vaubanian - built with moats, ramparts, scarps and counterscarps and parapets.’
      • ‘Additional mines were used to destroy the palisades of the covered passage and the supporting walls of the counterscarp or scarp, thus facilitating entry into the fortress.’


  • 1Cut or erode (a slope or hillside) so that it becomes steep, perpendicular, or precipitous.

    • ‘The picturesque old town, situated on the summit of a scarped hill, lies northwest of Reims and northeast of Paris.’
    • ‘A scarped windward slope is the aspect most characteristic of coastal dunes.’
    precipitous, sheer, abrupt, sharp, perpendicular, vertical, bluff, vertiginous, dizzy
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Provide (a ditch in a fortification) with a steep scarp and counterscarp.
      • ‘Outside this second circuit the natural slope has again been scarped to create a steep fall of about 10 m., at the bottom of which is a third, rather less substantial, rampart.’


Late 16th century (with reference to fortification): from Italian scarpa.