from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A member of one of the aboriginal tribes in the southwestern United States who built their dwellings in natural recesses in cliffs.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word cliff-dweller.


  • I was about to begin sketching a cliff-dweller village along the lines of Mesa Verde when a more powerful image took its place.

    The Dog of the Marriage Amy Hempel 2005

  • He had acquired the agility of a cliff-dweller from scaling the embankment by means of the "toe-holts"; yet, at that, it was no easy matter to transport a bucket of water without spilling it.

    The Dude Wrangler Caroline Lockhart 1916

  • When we stand before them -- whether it be a mud hut, the house of a cliff-dweller stuck like the nest of a swallow on the side of a cañon, a Pyramid, a

    The Builders A Story and Study of Masonry Joseph Fort Newton 1913

  • Ages before our era, even from the remote time of the cliff-dweller, the Cross seems to have been a symbol of life, though for what reason no one knows.

    The Builders A Story and Study of Masonry Joseph Fort Newton 1913

  • Now Mike himself was a sad musician, and the sound of him fandangoin 'uncertainly up and down the fretful spine of that instrument was a tribulation I'd put up with on account of friendship, pure and simple, but when that discord-lovin' lady cliff-dweller set all evenin 'in our tent and scraped snake-dances out of them catguts with a fish-bone, I pulled my freight and laid out in the moonlight with the dogs.

    Laughing Bill Hyde and Other Stories Rex Ellingwood Beach 1913

  • The food was all served in bowls and jugs of quaintly beautiful ancient cliff-dweller pottery.

    Bloom of Cactus Robert Ames Bennet 1912

  • Navaho rugs, a quantity of cliff-dweller pottery, and a sufficiency of heavy, comfortable furniture hewn out of cedar.

    Bloom of Cactus Robert Ames Bennet 1912

  • To the rear of the front row of rooms was a large chamber heaped with cliff-dweller mummies.

    Bloom of Cactus Robert Ames Bennet 1912

  • He had come, in a way, to be a cliff-dweller himself, and those silent eyes would look down upon him, as if in surprise that after thousands of years a man had invaded the valley.

    Riders of the Purple Sage Zane Grey 1905

  • One of the most interesting of the pictographs pecked in the rock is a figure which, variously modified, is a common decoration on cliff-dweller pottery from the Verde valley region to the ruins of the

    Archeological Expedition to Arizona in 1895 Seventeenth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, 1895-1896, Government Printing Office, Washington, 1898, pages 519-744 Jesse Walter Fewkes 1890


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.