E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Avalanche (3 syl.)
means properly something which goes downwards (French, à val). The word is applied to a mass of snow mixed with earth, ice, and stones, which slips down a mountain side to the lower ground. Metaphorically, we speak of an avalanche of applause, an avalanche of bouquets showered on the stage, etc.