gla·​cier | \ ˈglā-shər 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

These radar images are even capable of seeing through the ice to get a clear model of the glacier down to the bedrock. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "NASA Found a Giant Underground Cavern in Antarctica Almost the Size of Manhattan," 31 Jan. 2019 In short, ice at the edge of the glacier can melt or break off into icebergs, and surface snow farther inland can melt. Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica, "Greenland’s melting snow makes new hockey stick (graph)," 9 Dec. 2018 His lab at Tulane is one of five in the world able to take measurements of this carbon, which can be used to determine the growth of the glacier. Maria Clark,, "Antarctica bound: Tulane geologist joins international effort to study massive glacier," 1 May 2018 Climbing season on Denali has ended but sightseeing flights can still land on the glacier, allowing visitors to walk on the ice field, said park service spokeswoman Katherine Belcher. Dan Joling, Fox News, "4 dead, 1 missing in Alaska sightseeing plane crash," 6 Aug. 2018 Sublimation, perhaps at those frozen peaks or on the glacier itself, turns ice directly into gas, which lifts the methane grains into Pluto’s thin (but quite voluminous) atmosphere. National Geographic, "Surprise! Pluto Has Dunes Made of Methane 'Sand'," 31 May 2018 An ambitious mapping project demonstrates that glaciers all around the Antarctic coastline, and particularly in West Antarctica, are retreating inland (Climatewire, April 4). Chelsea Harvey, Scientific American, "Why Are Glaciers Melting from the Bottom? It’s Complicated," 12 Apr. 2018 In Thwaites’ case, that radar uncovered a gigantic cavern between the glacier itself and the bedrock below it. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "NASA Found a Giant Underground Cavern in Antarctica Almost the Size of Manhattan," 31 Jan. 2019 Most of it came from melting snow on a ring of mountains that surround the reservation, or the glacier. John Fialka, Scientific American, "A Wyoming Reservation Shows the New Face of Drought," 6 June 2018

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.

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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

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Statistics for glacier

Last Updated

8 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for glacier

The first known use of glacier was in 1744

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More Definitions for glacier



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

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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

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an enemy or opponent

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