[ muh-reyn ]
/ məˈreɪn /


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



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Origin of moraine

First recorded in 1780–90; from French, from Savoyard dialect morêna “rise in the ground along the lower edge of a sloping field,” equivalent to mour(o) “mound, accumulation of earth” (from unattested murr- “mound, elevation,” apparently pre-Latin ) + -ena suffix of landforms, probably of pre-Latin origin; compare Upper Italian (Piedmont) morena “heap of organic detritus,” Spanish moreña “heap of stones, moraine”


mo·rain·al, mo·rain·ic, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for moraine

British Dictionary definitions for moraine

/ (mɒˈreɪn) /


a mass of debris, carried by glaciers and forming ridges and mounds when deposited

Derived forms of moraine

morainal 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

Scientific definitions for moraine

[ mə-rān ]

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

Cultural definitions for moraine

[ (muh-rayn) ]

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.

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.