• synonyms


  1. a ridge, mound, or irregular mass of unstratified glacial drift, chiefly boulders, gravel, sand, and clay.
  2. a deposit of such material left on the ground by a glacier.
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Origin of moraine

1780–90; < French < Savoyard dialect morêna rise in the ground along the lower edge of a sloping field, equivalent to mour(o) mound, accumulation of earth (< *murr- mound, elevation, apparently pre-Latin) + -ena suffix of landforms, probably of pre-Latin orig.; compare Upper Italian (Piedmont) morena heap of organic detritus, Spanish moreña heap of stones, moraine
Related formsmo·rain·al, mo·rain·ic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for morainal

Historical Examples of morainal

  • The success of this undertaking will depend upon securing the co-operation of the people of the morainal belt.

    Appletons' Popular Science Monthly, November 1899


  • There are a few exceptions where the lake is due chiefly to a morainal dam, or a dam that was formed by a landslide.

    Your National Parks

    Enos A. Mills

  • Occasionally an under-cutting stream causes a morainal deposit to collapse.

  • Beyond this level land was a talus fallen from the cliff and then a morainal trough, up which they passed to the ice above.

    Jack the Young Explorer

    George Bird Grinnell

  • Below the glaciers throughout the entire Wind River Range great numbers of morainal lakes are found.

British Dictionary definitions for morainal


  1. a mass of debris, carried by glaciers and forming ridges and mounds when deposited
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Derived Formsmorainal or morainic, adjective

Word Origin for moraine

C18: from French, from Savoy dialect morena, of obscure origin
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 morainal



"ridge of rock deposited by a glacier," 1789, from French moraine (18c.), from Savoy dialect morena "mound of earth," from Provençal morre "snout, muzzle," from Vulgar Latin *murrum "round object," of unknown origin, perhaps from a pre-Latin Alpine language. Related: Morainal; morainic.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

morainal in Science


  1. A mass of till (boulders, pebbles, sand, and mud) deposited by a glacier, often in the form of a long ridge. Moraines typically form because of the plowing effect of a moving glacier, which causes it to pick up rock fragments and sediments as it moves, and because of the periodic melting of the ice, which causes the glacier to deposit these materials during warmer intervals.♦ A moraine deposited in front of a glacier is a terminal moraine. ♦ A moraine deposited along the side of a glacier is a lateral moraine. ♦ A moraine deposited down the middle of a glacier is a medial moraine. Medial moraines are actually the combined lateral moraines of two glaciers that have merged.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

morainal in Culture



A pile of debris, often extending for miles, deposited by a glacier. It is composed of rock fragments transported by the ice, which are left behind when the ice melts.

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.