Definitions

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The ragged surface of a lava-flow.

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

  • noun (Geol.), Southwestern U. S. The rough surface of a congealed lava stream.

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

  • noun akin to badlands, but having volcaniclastic rather than sedimentary rocks
  • noun land having an underlayer of basaltic lava and little or no soil

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Spanish malpaís (mal ("bad") + país ("land"))

Examples

  • The site sits on a landform called malpais, a young, rugged volcanic landscape "that looks like gravel dumped into a big pile," he said.

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  • I did describe our search through the malpais with the two feds.

    Operation Luna

  • Plain to see, each would guide a party around some predetermined section of the malpais.

    Operation Luna

  • We landed in a gaunt part of the malpais, beyond sight of anything human, and got off.

    Operation Luna

  • It cast pallor and long shadows across the malpais.

    Operation Luna

  • Do you suppose an invalid would traipse around the malpais after dark?

    Operation Luna

  • The night before, in the little cave where he rested, he had seen a snake, though it was much too cold for snakes to be moving about; worse, late in the night, he had heard the call of an owl, though he was far out on the malpais, where no owls flew.

    Dead Man’s Walk

  • The night before, in the little cave where he rested, he had seen a snake, though it was much too cold for snakes to be moving about; worse, late in the night, he had heard the call of an owl, though he was far out on the malpais, where no owls flew.

    The Lonesome Dove Series

  • He knew the large woman must be a witch, for only a witch would be traveling through the malpais with so many men.

    The Lonesome Dove Series

  • He knew the large woman must be a witch, for only a witch would be traveling through the malpais with so many men.

    Dead Man’s Walk

Comments

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  • 'bad lands' an area of recent (< 1000 years) volcanic basaltic rope lava

    March 29, 2009

  • Out West poor Ernest found no fan.

    As growled the cowpoke, Dirty Dan,

    "I'd rather crawl a far piece

    Over sharp malpais

    Than talk to that word huntin' man."

    Find out more about Ernest Bafflewit

    September 18, 2014