avalanche

noun
av·​a·​lanche | \ ˈa-və-ˌlanch How to pronounce avalanche (audio) \

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

The flood risk is due to heavy snowpack, multiple avalanches that left debris piled up and June rain, emergency management officials have said. Saja Hindi, The Denver Post, "Colorado counties, towns and state agencies prepare for potential flooding," 7 June 2019 On June 3 a helicopter search conducted by the Indian military reported five bodies in avalanche debris close to the expedition’s last known camp at around 17,700 feet. Anna Callaghan, Outside Online, "Climbers Presumed Dead on Flanks of Nanda Devi East," 6 June 2019 There are countless stories in mountaineering history of avalanche survivors, presumed dead, turning up alive days later in an unexpected location. NBC News, "Survival chances fade for missing mountaineering group in Himalayas," 4 June 2019 These detectors are called single-photon avalanche diodes. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Why millions of lasers on a chip could be the future of lidar," 8 Nov. 2018 And Kami Rita was on the mountain in 2015, when an earthquake triggered an avalanche that killed 19 people at Base Camp; the quake also caused major damage in Thame. Anna Callaghan, Outside Online, "Kami Rita Summits Everest for 22nd Time," 16 May 2018 The death of her daughter had triggered an avalanche of paperwork. Laurène Daycard, Marie Claire, "The Abuse Epidemic Hiding in Idyllic French Towns Is Flat-Out Frightening," 10 Mar. 2018 The Medical Examiner's Office changed the manner of death from accident to undetermined, triggering an avalanche of news coverage and unleashing a flood of new leads. Erin Moriarty, CBS News, "Natalie Wood: Death in Dark Water," 4 Feb. 2018 Across the world, people have sent the expecting parents an avalanche of gifts. Vogue, "Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Are Getting Baby Gifts From Around the World," 16 Apr. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about avalanche

Statistics for avalanche

Last Updated

10 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for avalanche

The first known use of avalanche was in 1744

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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 How to pronounce avalanche (audio) \

Kids Definition of avalanche

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on avalanche

What made you want to look up avalanche? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

incapable of being surmounted or overcome

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!