from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Surgical excision or amputation of a body part or tissue.
  • n. The erosive processes by which a glacier is reduced.
  • n. Aerospace The dissipation of heat generated by atmospheric friction, especially in the atmospheric reentry of a spacecraft or missile, by means of a melting heat shield.
  • n. Aerospace The reduction or removal of heat-protective surface material by aerodynamic friction, as from a heat shield.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A carrying or taking away; removal.
  • n. Extirpation.
  • n. Wearing away; superficial waste.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A carrying or taking away; removal; suppression.
  • n. In medicine, the taking from the body by mechanical means of anything hurtful, as a diseased limb, a tumor, a foreign body, pus, or excrement.
  • n. In chem., the removal of whatever is finished or no longer necessary.
  • n. In geology, the wearing away or waste of a glacier by melting or evaporation.
  • n.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the erosive process that reduces the size of glaciers
  • n. surgical removal of a body part or tissue


Late Latin ablātiō, ablātiōn-, from Latin ablātus, past participle of auferre, to carry away : ab-, away; see ab-1 + lātus, carried; see telə- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)


  • Radiofrequency ablation is a procedure in which heat is used to treat certain kinds of lesions.

    Radiofrequency Ablation

  • Energy and mass balance studies on Kilimanjaro cover barely two years, and define neither trends nor the long term ablation rate.


  • The surplus of accumulation that exists must be balanced by an increase in ablation, which is accomplished by expanding the low-elevation terminus zone of the ablation area.


  • While the panel meeting Thursday in Gaithersburg, Md., voted 10-0 that Medtronic's so-called ablation system is effective, they decided 9-1 that it isn't safe for patients who experience the heart ailment for long periods of time and need intervention. rss feed

  • The scientists said severe cases of irregular heartbeat may require a procedure called ablation, which destroys a group of "misfiring" cells to stop abnormal electrical impulses that cause erratic heartbeats.


  • It's called ablation therapy, a procedure where small lesions are actually burned inside the heart with a wire catheter.


  • Silencing macrophage white blood cells through a process called ablation reduced the response level of Wnt proteins to injured kidney cells.


  • Severe cases of irregular heartbeat may require a procedure called ablation, which destroys a group of "misfiring" cells to stop abnormal electrical impulses that cause erratic heartbeats. News Feed

  • Summer melting, called ablation, controls the mass and extent of glaciers.

    Climate Progress

  • The rate of snowfall needed to sustain a glacier depends on the rate of removal of glacier ice, called the ablation rate.



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  • This word will always remind me of eye surgery--I first learned it in the ophthalmology editing biz.


    April 22, 2009

  • The loss of ice and snow from a glacier system, occurring through melting and runoff, sublimation, evaporation, calving, or wind transportation of snow out of a glacier basin.

    November 14, 2008

  • "'...we began to see sperm whales, and off Mocha Island we killed eight.'

    "'Pray how did you do that, sir?' asked Stephen.

    "'Why, it is much the same as with the right whale,' said Allen.

    "'That is as though you should ask me how we take off a leg and I replied that it was not unlike the ablation of an arm. I for one should like a more detailed account,' said Stephen."
    —Patrick O'Brian, The Far Side of the World, 100

    February 20, 2008