Thursday, January 29, 2009

one word, many meanings

I have heard that there are dozens of words for "snow" in the Iroquois language. Around these here parts, we aren't that exacting or flowery. Glancing out the window on a January afternoon, the peeps in my house merely say, "It's snowing again."

Snow can be icy, fluffy, flaky, grainy, or powdery. It can dust your nose like a feather of lightest down. It can beat your brow like a hundred tiny knives. It can filter down your collar, stick to your boots, morph into ice, gum up your shovel, and snarl traffic.

Snow transforms the landscape. It delights little children. It makes the top of the news. It starts conversations at the grocery store and the bank. It makes a first date romantic. It cancels meetings.

Shouldn't we invent a few more words for snow?


Blogger Paul said...

We don't need to invent words. Perhaps just use them?

Snow itself: Needles, columns, plates, columns capped with plates, dendrites, and stars. When it comes down: squall, flurries, blizzard, sleet, dusting, maple sugar snow. Once it’s on the ground: powder, crud, crust, rime, graupel, corn, loose granular, wet granular, slush. Snow formations: bank, cornice, drift.

9:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My most common word for snow is "yuck."

10:55 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home