ablator

[a-bley-ter]
noun Aerospace.
See under ablation ( def 3 ).

Origin:
ablate + -or2

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ablation

[a-bley-shuhn]
noun
1.
the removal, especially of organs, abnormal growths, or harmful substances, from the body by mechanical means, as by surgery.
2.
the reduction in volume of glacial ice, snow, or névé by the combined processes of melting, evaporation, and calving. Compare alimentation ( def 3 ).
3.
Aerospace. erosion of the protective outer surface (ablator) of a spacecraft or missile due to the aerodynamic heating caused by travel at hypersonic speed during reentry through the atmosphere.

Origin:
1570–80; < Late Latin ablātiōn- (stem of ablātiō). See ablate, -ion

ablation, ablution.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
ablation (æbˈleɪʃən)
 
n
1.  the surgical removal of an organ, structure, or part
2.  the melting or wearing away of an expendable part, such as the heat shield of a space re-entry vehicle on passing through the earth's atmosphere
3.  the wearing away of a rock or glacier
 
[C15: from Late Latin ablatiōn-, from Latin auferre to carry away, remove]

ablator (æbˈleɪtə)
 
n
the heat shield of a space vehicle, which melts or wears away during re-entry into the earth's atmosphere
 
[C20: from ablation]

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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

ablation
c.1580, from L. ablationem (nom. ablatio), "a taking away," noun of action from ablat-, pp. stem of auferre "to carry away," from ab- "off" + ferre (pp. latum; see oblate) "to bear."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

ablation ab·la·tion (ā-blā'shən)
n.
Removal of a body part or the destruction of its function, as by a surgery, disease, or noxious substance.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
ablation   (ā-blā'shən)  Pronunciation Key 
  1. The wearing away or destruction of the outer or forward surface of an object, such as a meteorite or a spacecraft, as it moves very rapidly through the atmosphere. The friction of the air striking the object heats and often melts or burns its outer layers. Spacecraft and missiles are often equipped with heat shields designed to wear away by ablation in order to prevent heat from building up in structurally important parts.

  2. The process by which snow and ice are removed from a glacier or other mass of ice. Ablation typically occurs through melting, sublimation, wind erosion, or calving. ◇ The ablation zone is the area of a glacier that has the lowest elevation, where annual water loss is greater than the annual accumulation of snow.


The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
In the former, the fuel-ablator interface is marked, and in the latter the hot spot boundary is identified.
The upper right window shows a cut away view of the capsule ablator and fuel boundaries.
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