gla·​cier ˈglā-shər How to pronounce glacier (audio)
-zhər How to pronounce glacier (audio)
 especially British  ˈgla-sē-ə,
 or  ˈglā-sē-ə
: a large body of ice moving slowly down a slope or valley or spreading outward on a land surface

Examples of glacier in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Because of the widespread use of PFAS, these chemicals are now present in water, soil and living organisms and can be found across almost every part of the planet, including Arctic glaciers, marine mammals, remote communities living on subsistence diets and in 98% of the American public. Kathryn Crawford, The Conversation, 10 Apr. 2024 The oceans absorb 90 percent of the heat trapped by emissions, which is causing the ice sheets and glaciers to melt and the sea levels to rise. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 8 Apr. 2024 Since glaciers disappeared from North America, the loss of ice on top of the continent has been slowly causing the East Coast to sink. Dan Rosenzweig-Ziff, Washington Post, 5 Apr. 2024 Global sea levels are also on the rise, driven mainly by the rapid melting of ice sheets and glaciers. Ritu Prasad, CNN, 4 Apr. 2024 The dynamics are complex; there's even a gravitational field produced by huge ice sheets and glaciers to take into account. Bill Chappell, NPR, 30 Mar. 2024 The glaciers retreated around 10,000 years ago, exposing a land bridge between Europe and Britain, and another between Britain and Ireland, allowing easy passage to the islands. Sarah Fecht, Popular Science, 14 Mar. 2024 Last year, the team found a relict glacier in the geologically young region, a hopeful sign for future human habitation on a cold, arid, generally inhospitable world. Isaac Schultz / Gizmodo, Quartz, 18 Mar. 2024 Scientists said the 29,600-foot-high volcano was active from ancient through recent times and with possible remnants of glacier ice near its base. Michael Dorgan, Fox News, 15 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'glacier.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


French, from Middle French dialect (Franco-Provençal), from glace ice, from Latin glacies; akin to Latin gelu frost — more at cold

First Known Use

1744, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of glacier was in 1744

Dictionary Entries Near glacier

Cite this Entry

“Glacier.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


gla·​cier ˈglā-shər How to pronounce glacier (audio)
: a large body of ice moving slowly down a slope or valley or spreading outward on a land surface

More from Merriam-Webster on glacier

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