Origin of glacial

1650–60; < Latin glaciālis icy, equivalent to glaci(ēs) ice + -ālis -al1
Related formsgla·cial·ly, adverbnon·gla·cial, adjectivenon·gla·cial·ly, adverbun·gla·cial, adjectiveun·gla·cial·ly, adverb

Synonyms for glacial Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for glacial

Contemporary Examples of glacial

  • Many thousands of years ago, glacial floods swept through the area and carved out the sloping sides of the current grounds.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Brooklyn’s Gangster Graveyard

    Nina Strochlic

    October 23, 2014

  • “Americans will never drive a small car,” said the man from GM with glacial confidence.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Nationalism on Four Wheels

    Clive Irving

    October 18, 2014

  • Folks are taking cold showers already, and the weather soon will be glacial.

    The Daily Beast logo
    In Ukraine, Winter Is Coming

    Anna Nemtsova

    September 23, 2014

  • For a church that moves at a glacial pace, the murmurings of Bishops like Tobin are lightning fast and boldly subversive.

    The Daily Beast logo
    A Coming American Schism Over Pope Francis?

    Candida Moss

    September 20, 2013

  • The often glacial pace of change can prove particularly frustrating to former clerks who return as justices.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Advice for a New Justice

    Seth Stern, Stephen Wermiel

    October 5, 2010

Historical Examples of glacial

  • Perhaps the Glacial period which followed was too cold for them.

    The Meaning of Evolution

    Samuel Christian Schmucker

  • He rose as Roma entered, and received her with his great but glacial politeness.

  • "I had no idea you were with Miss Gray, Robin," she heard the lady say in glacial accents.

    Mary Gray

    Katharine Tynan

  • Even with that, his solitude was glacial, and reacted on his character.

  • If the glacial period were uniformity, what was catastrophe?

British Dictionary definitions for glacial



characterized by the presence of masses of ice
relating to, caused by, or deposited by a glacier
extremely cold; icy
cold or hostile in mannera glacial look
(of a chemical compound) of or tending to form crystals that resemble iceglacial acetic acid
very slow in progressa glacial pace
Derived Formsglacially, adverb
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 glacial

1650s, "cold, icy," from French glacial, from Latin glacialis "icy, frozen, full of ice," from glacies "ice," probably from PIE root *gel- "cold" (cf. Latin gelu "frost;" see cold (adj.)). Geological sense apparently coined in 1846 by British naturalist Edward Forbes (1815-1854). Related: Glacially.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

glacial in Science



Relating to or derived from a glacier.
Characterized or dominated by the existence of glaciers, as the Pleistocene Epoch.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.