- The definition of avalanche means a massive quantity of something that comes suddenly such as snow, ice, earth or rocks that come loose and speed down a mountain.
- An example of avalanche is a glacier that splits from a cliff face and hurdles down the side of a mountain.
- An example of avalanche is getting an unusually large amount of mail on a certain day.
Avalanche warning signs.
- a mass of loosened snow, earth, rocks, etc. suddenly and swiftly sliding down a mountain, often growing as it descends
- any large, overwhelming quantity that comes suddenly: an avalanche of mail, of blows, etc.
Origin of avalancheFrench (altered after avaler, to descend) ; from lavanche ; from ProvenÃ§al lavanca ; from an unverified form lavenca, probably a pre-Roman word in a non-IE language of northern Italy
- A fall or slide of a large mass of material, especially of snow, down a mountainside.
- A massive or overwhelming amount; a flood: received an avalanche of mail.
verbav·a·lanched, av·a·lanch·ing, av·a·lanch·es
Origin of avalancheFrench; akin to Provençal lavanca, ravine, perhaps ultimately from Latin lābī, to slip.
- A large mass or body of snow and ice sliding swiftly down a mountain side, or falling down a precipice.
- A fall of earth, rocks, etc., similar to that of an avalanche of snow or ice.
- A sudden, great, or irresistible descent or influx of anything.
- Anything like an avalanche in suddenness and overwhelming quantity (like a barrage, blitz, etc).
(third-person singular simple present avalanches, present participle avalanching, simple past and past participle avalanched)
- (intransitive) To descend like an avalanche.
- To come down upon; to overwhelm.
- The shelf broke and the boxes avalanched the workers.
From French, from Franco-Provençal (Savoy) avalançhe, blend of aval ‘downhill’ and standard lavençhe, from Vulgar Latin *labanka (cf. Occitan lavanca, Italian valanga), alteration of Late Latin labina ‘landslide’ (cf. Franco-Provençal (Dauphiné) lavino, Romansch lavina), from Latin labi ‘to slip, slide’.