Definition of glacial in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈɡleɪsɪəl/
Pronunciation: /ˈɡleɪʃ(ə)l/


1Relating to 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.
1.1Very cold; icy: glacial temperatures 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.
1.2Extremely 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.
2 Chemistry Denoting pure organic acids (especially acetic acid) which form ice-like crystals on freezing.
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.


A glacial period.
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.



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.


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

Words that rhyme with glacial

abbatial, craniofacial, facial, fascial, interracial, multiracial, palatial, primatial, racial, spatial

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: gla|cial

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