Definition of glissade in US English:



  • 1A way of sliding down a steep slope of snow or ice, typically on the feet with the support of an ice ax.

    • ‘Once I had past the subsidiary top of Carn Dearg Meadhonach I took advantage of a long snow glissade down a shallow corrie that dropped me down into the glen.’
    • ‘‘I've got to go see them,’ Gary says, and glissades down a steep-sided bowl to the water.’
    • ‘I managed a standing glissade almost all the way from the summit to the top of the north-facing Coire Dheirg.’
    • ‘A long, lingering snow patch gave a superb standing glissade back down to the col before the last scramble up to An Caisteal, the castle.’
  • 2Ballet
    A movement, typically used as a joining step, in which one leg is brushed outward from the body, which then takes the weight while the second leg is brushed in to meet it.

    • ‘Kids who perform understand the difference between executing a glissade and presenting one with gusto.’
    • ‘Two weeks ago I sprained my ankle while doing a glissade in class.’
    • ‘This is equally important in the glissades side-to-side, when the second foot of one glissade becomes the first foot of the next glissade.’
    • ‘Incorporating steps like glissades and pas de chats, I created a series of sword pas de deux, where the dancers move weapons instead of their feet.’
    • ‘Transition steps, like a glissade or pas de bourrée, are often as important as pirouettes.’
    • ‘Frankly, I'm not built for glissades, arabesques, entrechats or mincing around en pointe.’


[no object]
  • Slide down a steep slope of snow or ice with the support of an ice ax.

    • ‘The party glissaded down Roger's Glacier, crossed rocks and swollen streams, ate supper at a hut, then descended to the lower camp at 9: 00 pm.’
    • ‘The best thing about coming down a mountain like Shasta is glissading.’
    • ‘Although it was possible that the boys had triggered the slide on their way down - perhaps by glissading down the slope - the avalanche had probably released on their way up.’
    • ‘In spite of the somewhat slushy conditions, the pace was much quicker than on the way up, especially for those comrades who chose to thoroughly soak themselves by glissading all the way to the moraine.’
    • ‘Rather than retreat the way I've come, I decide to continue east along a ridge to another Munro, eventually glissading down a scree gully to the valley bottom.’
    slide, slip, glide
    View synonyms


Mid 19th century: French, from glisser ‘to slip, slide’.