Definition of avalanche noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



BrE BrE//ˈævəlɑːnʃ//
; NAmE NAmE//ˈævəlæntʃ//
(North American English also snowslide) Snow and ice, Mountains and valleys, Natural disasters
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a mass of snow, ice and rock that falls down the side of a mountain alpine villages destroyed in an avalanche He was killed in an avalanche while skiing. (figurative) We received an avalanche of letters in reply to our advertisement. Wordfinderavalanche, cyclone, disaster, earthquake, eruption, flood, hurricane, landslide, tornado, tsunami Wordfinderavalanche, blizzard, drift, flurry, hail, icicle, sleet, slush, snow, thaw See related entries: Snow and ice, Mountains and valleys, Natural disasters Word Originlate 18th cent.: from French, alteration of the Alpine dialect word lavanche (of unknown origin), influenced by avaler ‘descend’; compare with Italian valanga.Extra examples They died in an avalanche. They were killed by an avalanche in the Swiss Alps. We’ve been almost buried under the avalanche of letters. the avalanche of lawlessness threatening to engulf our civilization The issue has generated an avalanche of controversy.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: avalanche