from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A line of people, military posts, or ships stationed around an area to enclose or guard it.
  • noun A rope, line, tape, or similar border stretched around an area, usually by the police, indicating that access is restricted.
  • noun A cord or braid worn as a fastening or ornament.
  • noun A ribbon usually worn diagonally across the breast as a badge of honor or decoration.
  • noun Architecture A stringcourse.
  • noun Botany A tree or shrub, especially a fruit tree such as an apple or pear, repeatedly pruned and trained to grow on a support as a single ropelike stem.
  • transitive verb To form a cordon around (an area) so as to prevent movement in or out. Often used with off.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In fortification: A course of stones jutting before the rampart and the base of the parapet, or a course of stones between the wall of a fortress which lies aslope and the parapet which is perpendicular: introduced as an ornament, and used only in fortifications of stonework. The projecting coping of a scarp wall, which prevents the top of a revetment from being saturated with water, and forms an obstacle to an enemy's escalading party.
  • noun In architecture, a molding of inconsiderable projection, usually horizontal, in the face of a wall: used for ornament, or to indicate on the exterior a division of stones, etc. Compare band, 2 .
  • noun Milit., a line or series of military posts or sentinels, inclosing or guarding any particular place, to prevent the passage of persons other than those entitled to pass.
  • noun Hence Any line (of persons) that incloses or guards a particular place so as to prevent egress or ingress.
  • noun Any cord, braid, or lace of fine material forming a part of costume, as around the crown of a hat or hanging down from it, or used to secure a mantle or the like.
  • noun In heraldry, a cord used as a bearing accompanying the shield of an ecclesiastical dignitary, and usually hanging on each side.
  • noun A ribbon indicating the position of its wearer in an honorary order.
  • noun In horticulture, a plant that is naturally diffusely branched, made by pruning to grow as a single stem, in order to force larger fruit.
  • noun By extension, a person wearing or entitled to wear this badge.
  • noun Hence, from this being the highest badge of knightly honor, any person of great eminence in his class or profession: as, the cordons bleus of journalism.
  • noun In specific use, a first-class cook.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A cord or ribbon bestowed or borne as a badge of honor; a broad ribbon, usually worn after the manner of a baldric, constituting a mark of a very high grade in an honorary order. Cf. grand cordon.
  • noun The cord worn by a Franciscan friar.
  • noun (Fort.) The coping of the scarp wall, which projects beyong the face of the wall a few inches.
  • noun (Mil.) A line or series of sentinels, or of military posts, inclosing or guarding any place or thing.
  • noun A rich and ornamental lace or string, used to secure a mantle in some costumes of state.
  • noun a line of troops or military posts around a district infected with disease, to cut off communication, and thus prevent the disease from spreading. Also used figuratively, of a group of neutral states that forms a barrier between two hostile states.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun archaic A ribbon normally worn diagonally across the chest as a decoration or insignia of rank etc.
  • noun A line of people or things placed around an area to enclose or protect it.
  • noun cricket The arc of fielders on the off side, behind the batsman - the slips and gully.
  • noun botany A woody plant, such as a fruit tree, pruned and trained to grow as a single stem on a support.
  • verb with "off" To form a cordon around an area in order to prevent movement in or out.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun cord or ribbon worn as an insignia of honor or rank
  • noun adornment consisting of an ornamental ribbon or cord
  • noun a series of sentinels or of military posts enclosing or guarding some place or thing


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[French, from Old French, diminutive of corde, cord; see cord.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle French cordon.


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  • It was the middle-watch: a fair moonlight; the seamen were standing in a cordon, extending from one of the fresh-water butts in the waist, to the scuttle-butt near the taffrail.

    - Melville, Moby-Dick, ch. 43

    July 25, 2008

  • I usually only hear this word in the phrase "to cordon off" as in "put ropes around." Surprise: "a chain of posts, or an imaginary line of separation between two armies." (citation in list description)

    October 10, 2008

  • Are they bleu?

    October 10, 2008

  • Cricket jargon - the slips cordon is the line of players who stand in catching positions adjacent to the wicketkeeper.

    October 10, 2008