gla·cial | \ˈglā-shəl \

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 \ 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

On September 22, 2017, a shock wave of blue light flashed through the crystal-clear glacial ice a mile beneath the South Pole, heralding an entirely new way of looking at the universe. Eoin O'carroll, The Christian Science Monitor, "Neutrino demonstration heralds a new way of observing the cosmos," 12 July 2018 IceCube, a strange telescope made of deep glacial ice at the South Pole, has detected neutrinos from a distant, luminous galaxy. Mark Bowen, Scientific American, "Neutrinos on Ice: Astronomers' Long Hunt for Source of Extragalactic "Ghost Particles" Pays Off," 12 July 2018 The victims’ bodies cannot be recovered as they are entombed in a deep crevasse under glacial ice in the national park. Morning Brief, The Seattle Times, "Summer solstice is here and Trump’s halt to family separations brings confusion, big questions | Thursday Morning Brief, June 21," 22 June 2018 Try the Parnell segment for an especially hilly hike along glacial features including moraines, kettles, eskers and drumlins. Chelsey Lewis, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin bucket list: 20 things you have to do," 17 May 2018 Less than an hour south of Anchorage in the ski community of Girdwood, Alpine Air will fly you well above the Mount Alyeska tram to land on glaciers, or out to Prince William Sound to spot calving glacial ice. Mike Campbell, Anchorage Daily News, "The best way to see Alaska: By air," 2 May 2018 High shimmers and washes of abstract sound are punctuated by bird calls and sampled percussion, and sustained synthesizers test the boundaries between drone and glacial melody. New York Times, "The Playlist: Justin Bieber Boosts a Friend, and 14 More New Songs," 6 Apr. 2018 Scientists are now proposing higher-tech solutions to futher slow the impact of global warming on glacial ice around the world, writes E&E News′ Chelsea Harvey. Julissa Treviño, Smithsonian, "This Swiss Town Is Protecting Its Glacier With a Blanket," 13 Mar. 2018 This latest sample reveals Earth’s climate history beyond a critical benchmark when, 1 million years ago, glacial cycles shifted from 40,000- to 100,000-year periods. Katherine Mast, Discover Magazine, "Ancient Antarctic Ice Discovered," 3 Jan. 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

5 Oct 2018

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 \

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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Comments on glacial

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