Definition of coulee in English:



  • 1A short flow of viscous lava.

    • ‘The remaining magma as lava domes and coulees was extruded with some associated subplinian or vulcanian explosive activity.’
    • ‘The bulk of the T2 magma is represented by the lava domes and coulees, which are the most evolved.’
    • ‘The late-stage lava coulees and domes are most evolved.’
  • 2North American A deep ravine.

    • ‘It has rolling hills, valleys, ravines and coulees, ideal for stalking.’
    • ‘I also do not expect the flood pathway stories to tell that the flood eroded, in several days, 50 cubic miles of basalt and silt that resulted in deep vertical-walled coulees with flat bottoms.’
    • ‘The badlands are significant due to the plethora of fossils and dinosaur bones that have been recovered in the slowly eroding hoodoos, narrow valleys and bone-dry coulees.’
    • ‘They settled in coulees and river valleys where permanent water and wild hay grew and could sustain them year-round.’
    • ‘Once in the bog at the bottom of the coulee, one can see that the high grass is covered with grey silt.’


Early 19th century from French coulée ‘(lava) flow’, from couler ‘to flow’, from Latin colare ‘to strain or flow’, from colum ‘strainer’.