Cordillera [Span "mountains"], a term that is normally applied to groups of mountain ranges. Sierra [Span "sawtooth"] is applied to individual ranges, eg, Sierra Nevada. In English, cordillera refers to a major mountain system and includes the plateaus, valleys and plains enclosed by the mountains. The various mountain ranges and plateaus of eastern North America are sometimes collectively referred to as the Eastern Cordillera. The name Western Cordillera is commonly applied to all mountains and intermontane plateaus of the western part of the continent.

See also Geological regions; Physiographic regions; Vegetation regions.