- the removal, especially of organs, abnormal growths, or harmful substances, from the body by mechanical means, as by surgery.
- the reduction in volume of glacial ice, snow, or névé by the combined processes of melting, evaporation, and calving.Compare alimentation(def 3).
- Aerospace. erosion of the protective outer surface (ablator) of a spacecraft or missile due to the aerodynamic heating caused by travel at hypersonic speed during reentry through the atmosphere.
Origin of ablation
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for ablation
When this is impracticable, ablation of the tonsil may be necessary.
Besides being a beacon for sledging parties, it was used for ablation measurements.The Home of the Blizzard
Further still, in those things which consist in ablation, the straight is as the flat nose; for it subsists with the continued.Library Of The World's Best Literature, Ancient And Modern, Vol. 2
Charles Dudley Warner
In practice this penalty of death appears to have been sometimes commuted to ablation of the sexual organs.Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 2 (of 6)
Ablation may in such a case account for almost the whole of the snow removed.The Andes of Southern Peru
- the surgical removal of an organ, structure, or part
- the melting or wearing away of an expendable part, such as the heat shield of a space re-entry vehicle on passing through the earth's atmosphere
- the wearing away of a rock or glacier
C15: from Late Latin ablatiōn-, from Latin auferre to carry away, remove
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for ablation
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- Removal of a body part or the destruction of its function, as by a surgery, disease, or noxious substance.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
- The wearing away or destruction of the outer or forward surface of an object, such as a meteorite or a spacecraft, as it moves very rapidly through the atmosphere. The friction of the air striking the object heats and often melts or burns its outer layers. Spacecraft and missiles are often equipped with heat shields designed to wear away by ablation in order to prevent heat from building up in structurally important parts.
- The process by which snow and ice are removed from a glacier or other mass of ice. Ablation typically occurs through melting, sublimation, wind erosion, or calving.♦ The ablation zone is the area of a glacier that has the lowest elevation, where annual water loss is greater than the annual accumulation of snow.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.