We’re in the thick of winter now, so we all need this article in our lives. You always hear about how Eskimos have a ton of words for snow, but did you know there are quite a few terms for the white, wintry stuff in the U.S.?
These terms come from DARE: The Dictionary of Regional English. Take a look at this list of 15 phrases for snow across America and see how many you know. Do people use any of these in your neck of the woods?
1. Cat’s Track
This term is used to describe a light snow in certain places in the Midwest and the Northeast. One Wisconsin resident said, “If there is enough snow to track a cat, there has been a snowfall.” They also say “not enough snow to track a cat.”
A light snowfall or a “thin layer of snow or frost on the ground, or of ice on water.” Surprisingly, this term is used in a lot of areas throughout the country.
People in Kentucky, Indiana, and parts of Arkansas call a thin layer of ice or snow a “skimp.” Can also be used as a verb meaning to freeze in a thin coating.
4. Goose Down
This is what folks in Alabama call a light snow.
Large, soft snow flakes are sometimes called goosefeathers in Vermont.
6. The Old Woman is Picking Her Geese
Wow, this one is unique. This phrase means “it’s snowing” and is used in the Appalachian Mountains.
People who call Delaware home use this word to describe a light dusting of snow.
8. Snow Squall
Means the same thing as a snow shower, but a quick, powerful one. Used in the Northeast (and they know their snow). The first recorded use of it in American English is from 1775.
9. Flour-Sifter Snow
Used to describe small-flaked snow in Montana. I like this one!
10. Corn Snow
Kernel-like snow that is the result of repeated thawing and freezing. It’s a major pain in the ass if you’ve ever had to deal with it. Used in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Oregon.
11. Hominy Snow
This one is used by people in the South Midland states. Hominy is a Native American word, possibly meaning “parched corn” in Algonquin.
Freezing rain snow pellets are the worst, right? Residents of parts of Washington and Oregon use this word based off the word “graupel,” a German word meaning “soft hail.” The full German term is “graupel wetter,” which transaltes to “sleet weather.”
This one just sounds unpleasant. Residents of the Upper Midwest rely on this term to describe that nasty mixture of snow and dirt that seems to never go away in the winter.
New Englanders used this term back in the day to describe slush.
This phrase describes when a person walks through snow that is so deep you sink in with every step. Ugh, that’s no fun. Used in Colorado, Arkansas, Montana, and parts of Massachusetts.
h/t: Mental Floss