Definition of scree in English:



  • 1A mass of small loose stones that form or cover a slope on a mountain.

    • ‘They nest in colonies in scree slopes along ice-free Antarctic and sub-Antarctic coasts, where they lay a single egg in a natural cavity.’
    • ‘We follow a path through the Montezuma Basin, then cut across slopes of scree.’
    • ‘I did some useful snow cartography of slopes and took measurements of scree slopes.’
    • ‘It's a steep climb to the gap over loose scree and boulder slopes but the climbing eases off once you enter the narrow confines of The Window.’
    • ‘Above us scree slopes hung like frozen waterfalls, vast boulders strewn among them where they had tumbled.’
    • ‘At its top end, the trench opened out into a shallow circular pit that had been built up with a parapet of scree stone and mud from the valley bottom.’
    • ‘Melting ice gave way to continual rocks falling down scree slopes and into glacial streams and underground ice caves.’
    • ‘The roof gives one the sensation of sitting in a dry riverbed or mountain scree slope, particularly because it lacks containing barriers.’
    • ‘The view back down the valley was also becoming grander as we rose high above the dark scree slopes and meandering river.’
    • ‘Measurements were taken over 200 second intervals on vertical faces which had had as much loose scree and weathered material removed as possible.’
    • ‘Last autumn found me on a grueling research trip in the eastern Sierra, hauling heavy video equipment cross-country over loose scree and high passes.’
    • ‘At 9:20 A.M., I left the camp in a fresh 20-knot wind and headed off, slowly pacing up the treacherous rocky scree slopes.’
    • ‘A few hundred yards, and we're on the first technical section of the route, a steep double-track with solid ground for your left tires but loose scree under your right.’
    • ‘This leads to the production of extensive areas of broken rock and large scree slopes.’
    • ‘Video footage helps the controller navigate the robot and negotiate tough volcanic terrain from solidified lava flows to loose scree and rocks.’
    • ‘That stone-heap on a west-facing slope, is it scree, or a cairn, or the remains of a house?’
    • ‘My knees were knocking just a little by the time I got down and I would recommend anyone who didn't like loose rock and scree to go back down the way they came.’
    • ‘Leaving Alex to study for his biology degree, we walked out into the swirling mists and up the steep slopes of volcanic scree towards the snowline.’
    • ‘The road turns to stone, the slopes to scree, and then came the top, the heather and our sandwich stop.’
    • ‘Within an hour the gentle slope has careened skyward, and with each step loose bits of scree tumble down on those unfortunate enough to be bringing up the rear.’
    rock, pebble, boulder
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A slope covered with small loose stones.
      • ‘We sit and contemplate the high domed peak of Errigal, its white quartzy screes making it look snowy, beautiful, impossible.’
      • ‘To anyone to whom Maxwell means anything the towering screes of Beinn Sgritheall stand as a natural monument, a lasting monument, to his achievements.’
      • ‘While Meall a'Ghiubhais is a straightforward climb from the path, the steep screes and formidable northern crags of Ruadh-stac Beag makes a direct ascent almost impossible.’
      • ‘No matter how hard I try, I simply cannot keep up with my guide, Alistair, who scampers over the screes like some tweed-clad mountain goat.’
      • ‘As your mind tries to comprehend the harshness of the scene your eyes trace a route through the rocks - up steep screes above the frozen lochan, onto a long slabby ridge.’
      • ‘Ilexes and oleanders line the roadside; tall yellow mulleins and apricot hollyhocks spring up in the screes above.’
      • ‘Such a positive interaction results from the protection of seedlings against drought by established vegetation, and is well known in extreme climates like deserts or alpine screes.’
      • ‘An awkward ascent, hopping from tussocks to old stumps through a deep mire, and then a stiff climb up steep screes, led to the high point of the circuit, the John Garner Pass.’
      • ‘It grows on alpine north-facing mobile limestone screes, mostly over 1800 meters above sea level, confined to a narrow area of approximately 160 km.’
      • ‘From Inchnadamph, the grey screes of Conival's upper tiers contrast starkly with the lush pastoral tones of Gleann Dubh below.’
      • ‘There are ascent routes from this side of the hill but probably the most straightforward route is from the south side, avoiding the worst of the screes.’
      • ‘On three sides, cliffs and screes rose from a lake to the ice-cap above.’
      • ‘This can be found on the screes in the Torlesse Range some 80 km from Christchurch.’


Early 18th century: probably a back-formation from the plural screes, from Old Norse skritha ‘landslip’; related to skrítha ‘glide’.