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

That water comes from the headwaters of the fast-moving Crystal River, which drains from a glacial valley and is mainly filtered through Yule marble. Connie Baker, Popular Mechanics, "This Zero-Waste Distillery Saves 4 Million Gallons of Water Per Year—and Still Makes Delicious Stuff," 9 June 2019 When the glacier stopped advancing in October 1986, moving water blew out the glacial dam and eroded a new connection between Russell Fjord and Disenchantment Bay. Anchorage Daily News, "The sound of silence in Russell Fjord," 8 June 2019 In a salty, ferrous glacial waterfall known as Blood Falls, her team previously discovered a new strain of bacteria adapted to survive in brutally cold temperatures. Daniela Hernandez, WSJ, "The Hunt for Alien Life Starts in Earth’s Most Extreme Places," 9 Apr. 2019 And there is the hill, surrounded by quiet little glacial lakes lined with cedars and oxeye daisies. Chelsey Lewis, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin's highest point - Timm's Hill - is a quiet escape away from everything," 5 July 2018 Soon, Commencement Bay’s waters, turned teal blue by glacial melt, were filled with black, red and cedar-brown canoes. Craig Sailor, The Seattle Times, "‘It’s amazing’: Puyallup Tribe hosts more than 100 tribes traveling Salish Sea," 28 July 2018 In this alpine setting an hour south of Geneva, the Thiou River drifts out of the glacial lake into a picturesque old town crisscrossed by bridges. Elizabeth Wellington, Vogue, "Exploring Annecy, the Venice of the French Alps," 7 Nov. 2018 The natural glacial lake was named after Justus Bangs, the first permanent settler in Wauconda who arrived in 1836. Sheryl Devore, Lake County News-Sun, "Guide to outdoor dining in Chicago suburbs: Docks Bar and Grill in Wauconda," 6 July 2018 The ultra-patient breed blessed with analytical skills is accustomed to institutions that move at glacial speed. Elaine Ayala, San Antonio Express-News, "Mexican American Studies scholars waging fight against SBOE this week," 27 May 2018

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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Statistics for glacial

Last Updated

15 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for glacial

The first known use of glacial was in 1656

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More Definitions for glacial



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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with glacial

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for glacial

Spanish Central: Translation of glacial

Nglish: Translation of glacial for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of glacial for Arabic Speakers

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