gla·​cial | \ ˈglā-shəl How to pronounce glacial (audio) \

Definition of glacial

1 : suggestive of ice: such as
a : extremely cold : frigid a glacial wind
b : devoid of warmth and cordiality a glacial handshake
c : coldly imperturbable maintained a glacial calm
2 : of a purity marked by the tendency to readily solidify in the form of ice-like crystals glacial acetic acid
3a(1) : of, relating to, or being any of those parts of geologic time from Precambrian onward when a much larger portion of the earth was covered by glaciers than at present
(2) capitalized : pleistocene
b : of, relating to, or produced by glaciers
c : suggestive of the very slow movement of glaciers progress on the bill has been glacial

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Other Words from glacial

glacially \ ˈglā-​shə-​lē How to pronounce glacially (audio) \ adverb

Examples of glacial in a Sentence

Progress on the bill has been glacial. a glacial weather front coming down from Canada will bring freezing temperatures this weekend
Recent Examples on the Web Any change will likely happen at the glacial pace that characterizes most accounting reforms. Jean Eaglesham, WSJ, "Goodwill Sparks Deep Division, at Least on Balance Sheets," 21 Jan. 2020 With the authority of law enforcement officials curbed, major graft cases in Brazil are stalled or moving at a glacial pace as powerful defendants appeal convictions and use legal tactics to put off prison sentences. Letícia Casado,, "Latin America’s fight against corruption stalls," 28 Dec. 2019 One is that the provincial governments in Ontario and Quebec, whose residents account for about two-thirds of Canada’s population, have opened or licensed legal pot shops at a glacial pace — despite a clear demand. New York Times, "From Canada’s Legal High, a Business Letdown," 15 Dec. 2019 But as this and other climate gatherings have shown, change often comes at a glacial pace. Brady Dennis, Washington Post, "How Greta Thunberg is using her fame to pressure world leaders to act on climate," 11 Dec. 2019 Previous SlideNext Slide The glacial pace at which some of the world's major automakers are electrifying their product line-ups can be rather frustrating. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "Ford opens its order books for Mustang Mach-E electric crossover," 14 Nov. 2019 One foreign financier laments the glacial pace of activity in Mexico’s courts and government buildings. The Economist, "Mexican business struggles to adapt to a new regime," 24 Oct. 2019 Moving at a glacial pace isn’t an adage that works anymore. Heather Hansman, Outside Online, "North America's Best Ski Routes Are Disappearing," 23 Oct. 2019 The union has been on strike for four weeks with talks of a deal moving at a glacial pace. cleveland, "The manufacturing sector is in a recession, economists say: The Flyover," 11 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'glacial.' 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 glacial

1656, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for glacial

Latin glacialis, from glacies

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Time Traveler for glacial

Time Traveler

The first known use of glacial was in 1656

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Statistics for glacial

Last Updated

26 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Glacial.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 28 January 2020.

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More Definitions for glacial


How to pronounce glacial (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of glacial

: of or relating to glaciers : produced or caused by glaciers
: very cold
: very slow


gla·​cial | \ ˈglā-shəl How to pronounce glacial (audio) \

Kids Definition of glacial

1 : of or relating to glaciers glacial ice
2 : very cold
3 : very slow a glacial pace

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More from Merriam-Webster on glacial

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for glacial

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with glacial

Spanish Central: Translation of glacial

Nglish: Translation of glacial for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of glacial for Arabic Speakers

Comments on glacial

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


showing steady, earnest care and effort

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