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[muh-reyn] /məˈreɪn/
a ridge, mound, or irregular mass of unstratified glacial drift, chiefly boulders, gravel, sand, and clay.
a deposit of such material left on the ground by a glacier.
Origin of moraine
Savoyard dialect
1780-90; < French < Savoyard dialect morêna rise in the ground along the lower edge of a sloping field, equivalent to mour(o) mound, accumulation of earth (< *murr- mound, elevation, apparently pre-Latin) + -ena suffix of landforms, probably of pre-Latin orig.; compare Upper Italian (Piedmont) morena heap of organic detritus, Spanish moreña heap of stones, moraine
Related forms
morainal, morainic, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for moraine
  • It's no secret that the biotech boom has left a moraine of false promises and failed products in its wake.
  • moraine: a mound of unsorted till, deposited by ice action or melting of a glacier.
  • Glaciation right up to the lake and on one side a barely visible frozen moraine.
  • moraine features several camping options for those who want to stay over a long weekend.
  • We're talking about the people who live near the former g-m plant in moraine.
  • The trip includes a short hike on the glacier's moraine.
  • Often a terminal, or end, moraine marking the foot of a cirque dams a small mountain lake called a tarn.
  • As the ice melted and the glaciers retreated to the north, they left behind moraine: rock and sediment.
  • It is nothing more than a sandy moraine of gravel, rock, and scrub climbing straight up the mountainside.
  • The queen of moraine, a land known for its beauty and dangerous waters.
British Dictionary definitions for moraine


a mass of debris, carried by glaciers and forming ridges and mounds when deposited
Derived Forms
morainal, morainic, adjective
Word Origin
C18: from French, from Savoy dialect morena, of obscure origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for moraine

"ridge of rock deposited by a glacier," 1789, from French moraine (18c.), from Savoy dialect morena "mound of earth," from Provençal morre "snout, muzzle," from Vulgar Latin *murrum "round object," of unknown origin, perhaps from a pre-Latin Alpine language. Related: Morainal; morainic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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moraine in Science
A mass of till (boulders, pebbles, sand, and mud) deposited by a glacier, often in the form of a long ridge. Moraines typically form because of the plowing effect of a moving glacier, which causes it to pick up rock fragments and sediments as it moves, and because of the periodic melting of the ice, which causes the glacier to deposit these materials during warmer intervals. ◇ A moraine deposited in front of a glacier is a terminal moraine. ◇ A moraine deposited along the side of a glacier is a lateral moraine. ◇ A moraine deposited down the middle of a glacier is a medial moraine. Medial moraines are actually the combined lateral moraines of two glaciers that have merged.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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moraine in Culture
moraine [(muh-rayn)]

A pile of debris, often extending for miles, deposited by a glacier. It is composed of rock fragments transported by the ice, which are left behind when the ice melts.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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