From French avalanche, from Franco-Provençal (Savoy) avalançhe, blend of aval (“downhill”) and standard lavençhe, from Vulgar Latin *labanka (compare Occitan lavanca, Italian valanga), of uncertain origin, perhaps an alteration of Late Latin lābīna (“landslide”) (compare Franco-Provençal (Dauphiné) lavino, Romansch lavina), from Latin lābēs, from lābor (“to slip, slide”).
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈævəlɑːnʃ/
- (US, Canada) IPA(key): /ˈævəlæn(t)ʃ/
Audio (US) (file)
avalanche (plural avalanches)
- 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.
- (by extension) A sudden, great, or irresistible descent or influx; anything like an avalanche in suddenness and overwhelming quantity.
- 1834, L[etitia] E[lizabeth] L[andon], chapter XV, in Francesca Carrara. […], volume II, London: Richard Bentley, […], (successor to Henry Colburn), →OCLC, page 177:
- Yes, but she talked it away. She uses a whole language to herself. Her discourse is an avalanche of words, beneath which the hearers are overwhelmed.
- 2012, Andrew Martin, Underground Overground: A passenger's history of the Tube, Profile Books, →ISBN, page 109:
- The apparent success of the City and South London triggered an avalanche of bills for Tube railways, and in 1892 a Joint Select Committee of Parliament set out some ground rules.
- (intransitive) To descend like an avalanche.
- 1870–1871 (date written), Mark Twain [pseudonym; Samuel Langhorne Clemens], “[HTTP://WWW.GUTENBERG.ORG/FILES/3177/3177-H/3177-H.HTM CHAPTER 4]”, in Roughing It, Hartford, Conn.: American Publishing Company [et al.], published 1872, →OCLC:
- Whenever the stage stopped to change horses, we would wake up, and try to recollect where we were […] We began to get into country, now, threaded here and there with little streams. These had high, steep banks on each side, and every time we flew down one bank and scrambled up the other, our party inside got mixed somewhat. First we would all be down in a pile at the forward end of the stage, nearly in a sitting posture, and in a second we would shoot to the other end, and stand on our heads. […] ¶ Every time we avalanched from one end of the stage to the other, the Unabridged Dictionary would come too; and every time it came it damaged somebody.
- (transitive) To come down upon; to overwhelm.
- 1961, William Alexander Deans, chapter 9, in Muffled Drumbeats in the Congo, page 95:
- The applications were doubtless snowed under in the maze of official correspondence which avalanched the new government.
- The shelf broke and the boxes avalanched the workers.
- (transitive) To propel downward like an avalanche.
- 1899, Robert Blatchford, “Signals”, in Dismal England, London: Walter Scott, page 147:
- When our artist and I were dropped down our first coal-mine, we felt a leetle bit anxious. It was something new. But we have been avalanched down the incline from Peak Forest, and boomeranged round the sudden curve at Rowsley, and have run the gauntlet at Penistone and King’s Cross without ever taking the precaution to say “God help us.”
- “avalanche”, in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam, 1913, →OCLC.
- “avalanche”, in The Century Dictionary […], New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911, →OCLC.
Borrowed from Franco-Provençal avalançhe (Savoy), blend of aval (“downhill”) and standard lavençhe, from Vulgar Latin *labanka (compare Occitan lavanca, Italian valanga), alteration of Late Latin labina (“landslide”) (compare (Dauphiné) Franco-Provençal lavino, Romansch lavina), from Latin lābor (“to slip, slide”).
avalanche f (plural avalanches)
- → English: avalanche
- → Galician: avalancha
- → Portuguese: avalanche, avalancha
- → Romanian: avalanșă
- → Spanish: avalancha
- “avalanche”, in Trésor de la langue française informatisé [Digitized Treasury of the French Language], 2012.
- Hyphenation: a‧va‧lan‧che
avalanche f (plural avalanches)
- avalanche (large mass of snow sliding down a mountain side)
- Synonym: alude
- (figurative) (sudden, great, or irresistible influx of anything)