And the libfixes pour in. From Joel Berson on ADS-L yesterday, a report of ashvalanche ‘avalanche of ash’ (for two types of ash, with avalanche understood metaphorically). And that leads to plenty more examples of X-valanche.

Volcanic ash, coal ash. Berson, yesterday: “Heard on Boston WCVB local news at approximately 5:10–5:15 PM today”, a reference to an ashvalanche, “the recent eruption of Mount Sinabung in Indonesia that has sent an avalanche of, yes, ash down its slope”. He found about 20 raw Google Web hits, of which only two were interesting — one relevant to Mount Sinabung:

2015: WKOW 27 – WEB EXCLUSIVE: Check out this “Ashvalanche”. Video.

But also a 2009 mention from KnoxViews in East Tennessee, from commenter WhitesCreek: “The ashvalanche is bad enough and there is no need to exaggerate”. The background, from Berson: “When a dike failed at TVA’s Kingston Fossil Plant, 5.4 million cubic yards of coal ash cascaded into the Emory and Clinch rivers and smothered about 300 acres of land.”

In both cases, we have a cascade of some substance, resembling the cascade of snow in an avalanche.

Searching on “valanche” pulls up a variety of examples, starting with the website for Ad-Valanche, a metaphorical avalanche of ads:

Welcome to Ad-Valanche! A universal way to boost your advertising budget and potentially earn extra income in a stand alone program.

Then some collections of concrete objects, moving from cascades of them to mere large accumulations:

[my all-time favorite] Dealership Roof Collapse Ends In Massive Audi-valanche: The roof-top parking lot of an Audi dealership in the British city of Milton Keynes just completely caved in, sending approximately 20 cars crashing down into a mountain of cars below. (link)

Oh no! It’s a cow-valanche! What would your caption for this photo be? [photo of traffic sign warning of cows crashing down a mountainside] (link)

Cup Cake Cone’valanche [a pile of failed cupcake cones] (link)

Shoe-valanche! Victoria Beckham Donates 100 Pairs Of Shoes To Red Cross Charity Shop (link)

And on to more abstract referents:

BREAKING: AL-VALANCHE —- Franken WINS [election win for Al Franken] (link)

The Ron Paul-valanche [claimed groundswell of support for candidate Ron Paul] (link)

(Urban Dictionary has an entry for yarn-valanche, but the entry could just be playful inventiveness.)

Phonologically, the examples move from those in which their initial element is close to the /æ/ of avalancheashad, Al — and so might be viewed as simple portmanteaus, sharing some content between the two parts, on to those in which the initial element is phonologically distant from /æ/ — cow, shoe, Ron Paul, Cup Cake Cone — which suggests that –valanche is simply suffixed to this material. So: yet another libfix.

One Response to “-valanche”

  1. arnold zwicky Says:

    And now, punvalanche ‘pun avalanche” (with puns piled upon puns) in a 10/22/15 posting of mine.

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