The Cambridge Dictionary provides the following definitions of these two terms:


a mountainous area of a country.


high areas of land.

The definitions mentioned above are almost alike; the high areas denotes the mountainous areas, while the mountainous areas denotes a high area. But, how to use them accordingly?

2 Answers 2


Highlands would typically refer to areas that are mountainous with undulating terrain of peaks and valleys, such as the Scottish Highlands.

Uplands would refer to areas that are at a height above sea level, but are not necessarily mountainous. These would be plateaus or plains.

An example of such would be the interior of South Africa which is at a height above sea level, but is largely flat. This region is referred to locally as highveld.


Both Highlands and Uplands are plateaus, but the difference between them is:

The Highland is a plateau that is high, especially because of Mountains. While the Upland is also a plateau, but not necessarily mountainous.

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