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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 called Townsend avalanche. Physics, Chem.a 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.
to come down in, or like, an avalanche.

v.t.
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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