ice·​fall | \ ˈīs-ˌfȯl How to pronounce icefall (audio) \

Definition of icefall

1 : a frozen waterfall
2 : the mass of usually jagged blocks into which a glacier may break when it moves down a steep declivity

Examples of icefall in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In the winter, water freezes into a giant icefall on the sandstone cliffs along the Red Cedar State Trail south of Menomonie. Chelsey Lewis, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Candlelight hikes give winter in Wisconsin a beautiful glow," 6 Dec. 2018 On the Langshisha Glacier, Dawa Yangzum easily navigated the uneven icefall and gaping crevasses. Anna Callaghan, Outside Online, "Smashing Guiding's Glass Ceiling," 3 Apr. 2018 The icefall gave way to a barren strip of gray moraine dotted with yellow and orange tents, the remnants of the season's Base Camp. Author: John Branch, Anchorage Daily News, "Deliverance from 27,000 feet: The journey home for 2 climbers who perished on Everest," 19 Dec. 2017 On March 23, an icefall buried and killed one climber, Jake Breitenbach. Sewell Chan, New York Times, "Norman Dyhrenfurth, 99, Dies; Led First U.S. Team to Reach Top of Everest," 27 Sep. 2017 The siphons lowered the height of the lake by nearly 20 feet, but they were damaged in recent icefall, and only two are now working. Nick Miroff,, "Peru and its melting glaciers are an early test of adapting to climate change. It's not going well.," 7 Aug. 2017 The siphons lowered the height of the lake by nearly 20 feet, but they were damaged in recent icefall, and only two are now working. Washington Post, "Peru’s glaciers have made it a laboratory for adapting to climate change. It’s not going well.," 7 Aug. 2017 In 2014, the year an avalanche swept through Everest’s Khumbu icefall, there were 16 deaths. Binaj Gurubacharya, The Seattle Times, "The tragedy of Everest’s normal: 10 dead this season, so far," 24 May 2017 Atop K2’s near-vertical slopes, glacial icefalls dislodge car-size hunks of ice. Michael Powell, New York Times, "Scaling the World’s Most Lethal Mountain, in the Dead of Winter," 9 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'icefall.' 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 icefall

1803, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about icefall

Time Traveler for icefall

Time Traveler

The first known use of icefall was in 1803

See more words from the same year

Statistics for icefall

Last Updated

23 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Icefall.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Feb. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on icefall

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with icefall

Comments on icefall

What made you want to look up icefall? 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

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
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!