Meaning of AVALANCHE in English


I. ˈavəˌlanch, -aa(ə)n-, -ain- noun

( -s )

Usage: often attributive

Etymology: French, from French dialect (northwestern Alps) avalantse, alteration (influenced by French avaler to lower, go downstream) of French dialect (northwestern Alps) lavantse, probably of non-Indo-European origin; akin to the source of Old Provençal lavanca avalanche, Italian valanga

1. : a large mass of snow, ice, earth, rock, or other material in swift motion down a mountainside or over a precipice

2. : any sudden great or overwhelming rush or flood

an avalanche of water smashing on the decks — Harper's

3. : an electric breakdown which occurs under an applied electric field and in which an electron released from an atom acquires enough energy from the electric field to cause the release of two or more electrons from an atom with which it collides thus initiating an electronic chain reaction — called also electron avalanche, Townsend avalanche

II. verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

intransitive verb

: to rush or slide in or in the manner of an avalanche

a pile of junk avalanches out of the hall closet when you open the door

transitive verb

: to present or supply at one time with a superabundance of anything : overwhelm , flood

the office was avalanched with applications

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.