[pir-uh-neez] /ˈpɪr əˌniz/

plural noun
a mountain range between Spain and France. Highest peak, Pic de Néthou, 11,165 feet (3400 meters).
plural noun
a mountain range between France and Spain, extending from the Bay of Biscay to the Mediterranean. Highest peak: Pico de Aneto, 3404 m (11 168 ft)

1550s, from French Pyrénées, from Latin Pyrenæi montes, from Greek Pyrene, name of a daughter of Bebryx/Bebrycius who was beloved of Herakles; she is said to be buried in these mountains (or that the mountains are the tomb Herakles reared over her corpse). The name is said to mean literally “fruit-stone,” but Room says it might be Greek pyr “fire” + eneos “dumb, speechless,” which perhaps translates or folk-etymologizes a Celtic goddess name. “In medieval times there was no overall name for the range and local people would have known only the names of individual mountains and valleys” [Room, Adrian, Place Names of the World, 2nd ed., McFarland & Co., 2006]. Related: Pyrenean.
Pyrenees [(pir-uh-neez)]

Mountain chain in southwestern Europe, between France and Spain, extending from the Bay of Biscay on the west to the Mediterranean Sea on the east.


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