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

This glacial pace is something to which residents have become well accustomed. Tara Golshan, Vox, "The races that still haven’t been called in Arizona, Florida, and Georgia, explained," 12 Nov. 2018 In this scenario, the reform program wouldn’t be reversed but could slow down to the glacial pace under past Saudi rulers. Karen Elliott House, WSJ, "The Saudi Crown Prince’s Uncertain Fate," 22 Oct. 2018 The rift is filled with glacial runoff so pure that visibility is limited only by the human eye. Elizabeth Bernstein, WSJ, "Using Fear to Break Out of a Funk," 24 Sep. 2018 Rather than coupling the eye-catching tie-back with a simple makeup moment, Lively went all in, a pressing of burgundy eyeshadow coloring the outer corners of her glacial gaze for a hazy take on the graphic cat eye. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "Blake Lively Has the Answer to Rainy Day Hair—And It's Anything But Basic," 11 Sep. 2018 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

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

30 Nov 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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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

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).


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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