Definition of cordon sanitaire in English:

cordon sanitaire

Syllabification: cor·don sa·ni·taire
Pronunciation: /kôrdôN ˌsänēˈter

noun (plural cordons sanitaires pronunc. same)

  • 1A guarded line preventing anyone from leaving an area infected by a disease and thus spreading it.
    More example sentences
    • Why not destroy the cattle exhibiting the symptoms and produce a cordon sanitaire by vaccinating the sheep, whether they present the symptoms or not?
    • The village agreed to establish a cordon sanitaire around it that nobody was to cross for any reason until the disease had burned itself out.
  • 1.1A measure designed to prevent communication or the spread of undesirable influences: these rules help to reinforce the cordon sanitaire around the Pentagon
    More example sentences
    • The bottom line: a cordon sanitaire between local law enforcement and immigration authorities that creates a safe haven for illegal criminals.
  • 1.2A series or chain of small neutral buffer states around a larger, potentially dangerous or hostile state.


mid 19th century: French, from cordon 'line, border' (see cordon) + sanitaire 'sanitary'.

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