Meaning of avalanche

av•a•lanche

Pronunciation: (av'u-lanch", -länch"), [key]
— n., v., -lanched, -lanch•ing.
—n.
  1. a large mass of snow, ice, etc., detached from a mountain slope and sliding or falling suddenly downward.
  2. anything like an avalanche in suddenness and overwhelming quantity: an avalanche of misfortunes; an avalanche of fan mail.
  3. Also calleda cumulative ionization process in which the ions and electrons of one generation undergo collisions that produce a greater number of ions and electrons in succeeding generations.
—v.i.
  1. to come down in, or like, an avalanche.
—v.t.
  1. to overwhelm with an extremely large amount of anything; swamp.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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