gla·​cier | \ ˈglā-shər How to pronounce glacier (audio) also -zhər How to pronounce glacier (audio) , especially British ˈgla-sē-ə or ˈglā-sē-ə \

Definition of glacier

: 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 In the past 22 years, one giant glacier in East Antarctica has retreated almost three miles. Helen Regan, CNN, "The South Pole has been warming at three times the global average over the past 30 years, study says," 29 June 2020 The crash was virtually forgotten until a military training mission spotted a yellow life raft on the glacier. Washington Post, "More fragments from 1952 crash in Alaska found in glacier," 27 June 2020 The team worked for months developing this floating glacier that would become Ahtohallan, from individual ice structures to how Elsa's transformation sequence would play out. Nick Romano,, "The heartbreaking story behind a Frozen 2 character and other moments from Into the Unknown," 27 June 2020 One Wilderness Society staffer contracted giardiasis after drinking water running off a glacier. Keith Mccafferty, Field & Stream, "The Ultimate Survival Guide to Finding and Purifying Water," 19 June 2020 Watch as the team maps the impacts of climate change on Mt. Everest in a way the world has never seen before to better understand the world’s highest glacier. National Geographic, "Creating a virtual reconstruction of Everest Base Camp," 16 June 2020 Accounting for the fact that this process probably slowed during winter, the authors estimate the glacier retreated at over 10 kilometers (6 miles) per year. Ula Chrobak, Popular Science, "Ice sheets can melt much faster than we thought," 8 June 2020 Dowdeswell says the finding could be relevant to the Pine Island Glacier in Antarctica, which has experienced rapid melting and seems to be forming similar underwater ridges as that ancient glacier. Ula Chrobak, Popular Science, "Ice sheets can melt much faster than we thought," 8 June 2020 Maybe the most exciting results were that the moss balls were moving as a herd, in a direction not explainable by the glacier’s downhill flow. Anchorage Daily News, "A tale of glacier mice and young love," 7 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'glacier.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of glacier

1744, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for glacier

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about glacier

Time Traveler for glacier

Time Traveler

The first known use of glacier was in 1744

See more words from the same year

Statistics for glacier

Last Updated

2 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Glacier.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for glacier


How to pronounce glacier (audio) How to pronounce glacier (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of glacier

: a very large area of ice that moves slowly down a slope or valley or over a wide area of land


gla·​cier | \ ˈglā-shər How to pronounce glacier (audio) \

Kids Definition of glacier

: a large body of ice moving slowly down a slope or over a wide area of land

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on glacier

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with glacier

Spanish Central: Translation of glacier

Nglish: Translation of glacier for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of glacier for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about glacier

Comments on glacier

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


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A More Exception(al) Quiz

  • hot dog  hot dog  hot dog  hot dog cat
  • Which of the following words is not a synonym for ‘a young person’?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!