avalanche

noun
av·​a·​lanche | \ ˈa-və-ˌlanch \

Definition of avalanche

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a large mass of snow, ice, earth, rock, or other material in swift motion down a mountainside or over a precipice
2 : a sudden great or overwhelming rush or accumulation of something hit by an avalanche of paperwork
3 physics : a cumulative process in which photons or accelerated charge carriers produce additional photons or charge carriers through collisions (as with gas molecules)

avalanche

verb
avalanched; avalanching

Definition of avalanche (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to descend in an avalanche Snow avalanched down the mountain.

transitive verb

: overwhelm, flood The office was avalanched with applications.

Examples of avalanche in a Sentence

Noun

He was buried by an avalanche.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Twelve people were reported dead by police after accidents including involving avalanches in Germany and Austria. Bojan Pancevski, WSJ, "Snowbound Europe Struggles to Dig Out After Deadly Storms," 11 Jan. 2019 The Northwest will be hit by a variety of extreme weather conditions that might cause flash flooding, mudslides, and avalanches. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "AccuWeather Predicts a Major Storm Will Drastically Affect Christmas Travel," 20 Dec. 2018 As the climate warms, frozen slopes will thaw and landslides and avalanches may become a greater hazard to deep-sea fiber, says Hermann Fritz, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. Rob Goodier, Popular Mechanics, "How Climate Change Could Break the Internet," 19 July 2018 And researchers agree that these dark slope streaks are caused by dust avalanches. Chelsea Gohd, Space.com, "Wow! This Fresh Meteoroid Impact on Mars Triggered a Dusty Avalanche," 19 June 2018 The 18-year-old is currently in the hospital as his back was broken in the April 22 avalanche. Johnny Dodd, PEOPLE.com, "U.S. Snowboarder Brock Crouch 'Lucky' to be Alive After Being Swept Away in an Avalanche," 25 Apr. 2018 As part of the avalanche of gaming news coming out of the E3 Expo in Los Angeles this week, fans will be thrilled to hear that Telltale Games has reached a licensing deal with Netflix to release a Stranger Things video game. Gil Kaufman, Billboard, "'Stranger Things' Video Game in the Works," 14 June 2018 Police in Valais canton (state) say the avalanche hit the group of five skiers on Saturday afternoon. Fox News, "Swiss Alps avalanche leaves 3 dead, 2 injured near glacier," 1 Apr. 2018 The investigations of HiCaliber Horse Rescue were prompted by an avalanche of complaints over the last several months from competing rescue operations and horse enthusiasts and fueled by an intense Internet campaign. J. Harry Jones, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Valley Center horse rescue faces scrutiny, backlash over euthanasia," 7 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Just look at any photo of Gritty: his lidless, spinning eyes; his inert tongue; his unshaven beard which avalanches over his collarbone, like a Portland bartender’s. Jason Gay, WSJ, "The Fuzzy Terror of Sports Mascots," 27 Sep. 2018 Conspiracy mogul Alex Jones’s gruff voice avalanched out of the speakers and declared war on globalists and labeled Hillary Clinton a criminal who needed to be locked away. Longreads, "The RNC, Revisited," 31 Oct. 2017 Licht got avalanched for dealing third-round and fourth-round picks in 2016 to move into the second round to draft a kicker. Peter King, SI.com, "Monday Morning QB: Bucs GM Jason Licht ‘Owning Up’ to Roberto Aguayo Mistake," 14 Aug. 2017 After being fourth in team defense in 2014 under Jim Schwartz, Rex Ryan’s unit got avalanched the past two seasons, finishing 19th twice with uglier analytics measurables than that. Peter King, The MMQB, "Peter King: The NFL's strongest division is...," 22 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'avalanche.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of avalanche

Noun

1744, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1826, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for avalanche

Noun and Verb

French, from French dialect (Franco-Provençal) lavantse, avalantse

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Statistics for avalanche

Last Updated

18 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for avalanche

The first known use of avalanche was in 1744

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More Definitions for avalanche

avalanche

noun

English Language Learners Definition of avalanche

: a large amount of snow and ice or of dirt and rocks that slides suddenly down the side of a mountain
: a sudden great amount of something

avalanche

noun
av·​a·​lanche | \ ˈa-və-ˌlanch \

Kids Definition of avalanche

: a large mass of snow and ice or of earth or rock sliding down a mountainside or over a cliff

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More from Merriam-Webster on avalanche

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with avalanche

Spanish Central: Translation of avalanche

Nglish: Translation of avalanche for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of avalanche for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about avalanche

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