- a large mass of snow, ice, etc., detached from a mountain slope and sliding or falling suddenly downward.
- anything like an avalanche in suddenness and overwhelming quantity: an avalanche of misfortunes; an avalanche of fan mail.
- Also called Townsend avalanche. Physics, Chemistry. a cumulative ionization process in which the ions and electrons of one generation undergo collisions that produce a greater number of ions and electrons in succeeding generations.
- to come down in, or like, an avalanche.
- to overwhelm with an extremely large amount of anything; swamp.
Origin of avalanche
Examples from the Web for avalanche
Horst Ulrich, a 72-year-old German on a trek with a group of friends, watched four Nepali guides swept away by an avalanche.Nepal’s Deadliest Avalanche Was Totally Avoidable
October 20, 2014
It was an avalanche in lower Manhattan, reaching 2.4 on the Richter scale.The Resilient City: New York After 9/11
September 11, 2014
And after enough snowflakes of conflict comes the avalanche.Is Democracy Doomed Abroad?
August 31, 2014
Many of the other Nepali Sherpas working on the mountain witnessed the avalanche as it covered their friends and fellow workers.Everest's Sherpas Are Right To Revolt
April 22, 2014
They had a son named Nima, but Lopsang was soon swallowed by an avalanche on the Lhotse Face.Breaking Mount Everest’s Glass Ceiling
Amanda Padoan, Peter Zuckerman
March 30, 2014
Dorcas had no dreams so happy that such an avalanche could not sweep them aside.Meadow Grass
Fandor was too stunned by the avalanche of incidents to move.A Nest of Spies
He felt as if everything were slipping away from him, and he was trying to stand on an avalanche.The Christian
With Platina, ca. 1474, an avalanche of cookery literature started.
What could have brought down upon him this avalanche of indignation and eloquence?Luttrell Of Arran
Charles James Lever
- a fall of large masses of snow and ice down a mountain
- a fall of rocks, sand, etc
- a sudden or overwhelming appearance of a large quantity of thingsan avalanche of letters
- physics a group of ions or electrons produced by a single ion or electron as a result of a collision with some other form of matter
- to come down overwhelmingly (upon)
Word Origin and History for avalanche
1763, from French avalanche (17c.), from Romansch (Swiss) avalantze "descent," altered (by metathesis of -l- and -v-, probably influenced by Old French avaler "to descend, go down") from Savoy dialect lavantse, from Provençal lavanca "avalanche," perhaps from a pre-Latin Alpine language (the suffix -anca suggests Ligurian). As a verb, from 1872.
- The sudden fall or slide of a large mass of material down the side of a mountain. Avalanches may contain snow, ice, rock, soil, or a mixture of these materials. Avalanches can be triggered by changes in temperature, by sound vibrations, or by vibrations in the earth itself.
- A process resulting in the production of large numbers of ionized particles, in which electrons or ions collide with molecules, with each collision itself producing an additional electron or ion that in turn collides with other molecules. Avalanches are what generate the pulses of electric current that are registered by Geiger counters.