Definition of glacial in English:


Syllabification: gla·cial
Pronunciation: /ˈɡlāSHəl


1Relating to, resulting from, or denoting the presence or agency of ice, especially in the form of glaciers: thick glacial deposits a glacial lake
More example sentences
  • Several minerals, classified as drift minerals in this article, are present in Pleistocene glacial deposits.
  • These processes can be observed occurring in the near-surface at present and have also affected late Devensian and pre-late Devensian glacial deposits.
  • Gypsum crystals are present, occurring in Pleistocene glacial lake beds of bluish-gray silt and clay that are exposed along the banks of the creek.
2Of ice; icy: the glacial mountains of New Zealand figurative his glacial blue eyes
More example sentences
  • I could see across the flood plain towards rivers of blue glacial ice cascading down from the flanks of distant mountains.
  • This dispassionate view of man and nature brings an icy edge to his work, intensified by her color choice of glacial whites and gelid blues.
  • We climbed slowly towards the Katantika Pass, inching towards the magnificent, glaciated summits of Presidente and Flor, their white snow tinged with glacial blue.
freezing, cold, icy, ice-cold, subzero, frozen, gelid, wintry;
arctic, polar, Siberian, hypothermic;
literary chill
unfriendly, hostile, unwelcoming;
2.1 Chemistry Denoting pure organic acids (especially acetic acid) that form icelike crystals on freezing.
More example sentences
  • The term superacids was introduced into the chemical literature in 1927 by James Conant and Norris Hall to describe solutions of sulfuric or perchloric acid in glacial acetic acid.
  • Fixing was performed in a mixture of glacial acetic acid and methyl alcohol at a ratio of 1: 3.
  • For this reason, pure acetic acid is known as glacial acetic acid.
2.2Extremely slow (like the movement of a glacier): an official described progress in the talks as glacial
More example sentences
  • Can this glacial movement towards an uncertain goal even warrant the term ‘progress’?
  • Corporate movements are glacial and update stories are boring, boring, boring (as you are about to find out).
  • He hired his grandsons by the hour to dispose of brush, and was surprised and outraged at the studied, glacial pace of their movements.
slow, lugubrious, unhurried, leisurely, steady, sedate, slow-moving, plodding, dawdling, sluggish, sluggardly, lead-footed


Geology Back to top  
A glacial period.
More example sentences
  • This then provides the opportunity for Milankovich cycles to become the pacemaker of the ice ages, causing alternating glacials and interglacials.
  • There have been a number of cold periods (glacials or ice ages), punctuated by warmer periods, of which we are living in one.
  • The climate was cooler than today but warmer than a full glacial, with sand and silt forming in shallow, flowing water in the form of sheet-wash or in ephemeral channels.


mid 17th century: from French, or from Latin glacialis 'icy', from glacies 'ice'.



More example sentences
  • There has been some progress but it has been glacially slow.
  • The Head was glacially political but clearly annoyed.
  • A large interior plateau contains dense forests, thousands of lakes and peat bogs, and rocky infertile soils associated with a glacially modified landscape with numerous drumlins and eskers.

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