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avalanche

[ av-uh-lanch, -lahnch ]
/ 藞忙v 蓹藢l忙nt蕛, -藢l蓱nt蕛 /
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noun
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.
verb (used without object), av路a路lanched, av路a路lanch路ing.
to come down in, or like, an avalanche.
verb (used with object), av路a路lanched, av路a路lanch路ing.
to overwhelm with an extremely large amount of anything; swamp.
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Origin of avalanche

1755鈥65; <French < dial. (Savoy) avalantse, alteration (by association with avaler to descend rapidly) of laventse<pre-Latin (perhaps Ligurian) *lavanca, or reshaping of Late Latin lab墨na landslide (derivative of Latin lab墨 to slide) with a pre-Latin suffix -anca

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH avalanche

avalanche , landslide
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, 漏 Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use avalanche in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for avalanche

avalanche
/ (藞忙v蓹藢l蓱藧nt蕛) /

noun
  1. a fall of large masses of snow and ice down a mountain
  2. 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
verb
to come down overwhelmingly (upon)

Word Origin for avalanche

C18: from French, by mistaken division from la valanche, from valanche, from (northwestern Alps) dialect lavantse; related to Old Proven莽al lavanca, of obscure origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition 漏 William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 漏 HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Scientific definitions for avalanche

avalanche
[ 膬v蓹-l膬nch鈥 ]

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.
The American Heritage庐 Science Dictionary Copyright 漏 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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