Other Words for Snow: From Common to Creative

Sometimes when you’re describing frozen precipitation, the word snow is sufficient. Other times, though, using one of the other words for snow might help you convey your meaning more effectively. Discover words and phrases for different types of snow and ways it accumulates along with terminology for weather events that involve snow. Just for fun, learn how to say snow in other languages too.

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Words and Phrases for Different Types of Snow

There are actually several types of snow. If you’re looking to describe snow very precisely, one of these terms might be exactly what you need.

  • column - a snowflake with six sides that has the appearance of a column
  • corn snow - snow that becomes granulated by repeatedly freezing, melting then refreezing
  • dendrite - a snowflake with six points; the classic snowflake design/shape
  • frozen water vapor - water that condenses to ice without first going into a liquid state
  • graupel - opaque snowflakes that are round in shape; similar to hail but smaller and less hard
  • lake effect snow - snow that forms when below freezing air goes over one of the Great Lakes, which are warmer than the air
  • polycrystal - a huge snowflake that forms as a result of several smaller flakes joining together
  • snowflakes - clusters of ice crystals that fall from clouds, forming individual flakes
  • snow pellets - opaque ice particles that fall from a cloud; can be round (graupels) or cone-shaped

Word List for Different Ways Snow Accumulates

The word accumulation can be a good term to describe snow that has collected on the ground, but snow actually accumulates in many ways. Improve clarity by choosing a more specific word or phrase.

  • cornice - a mass of ice and snow that forms an overhang; typically seen on cliffs or mountainsides
  • drift - a hill of snow blown into place by wind
  • finger drift - narrow, fingerlike drifts of snow that stretch across roads
  • new snow - fresh snow accumulation in which individual crystals of ice are visible
  • old snow - snow that has been accumulated long enough so that individual crystals of ice are not visible
  • perennial - snow that stays accumulated on the ground for longer than a year
  • pillow drift - an expansive snowdrift that stretches across a road
  • powder - new accumulation of snow with fresh ice crystals that are still loose; a skier’s paradise
  • snowbank - a pile or mound of snow
  • snow blanket - a continuous layer of accumulated snow that covers whatever is beneath it
  • snowclad - an area that is covered up by snow
  • sposh - accumulated snow that has started to melt and become slushy

List of Terms for Snowy Weather and Conditions

Simply saying that it’s snowing lets people know that snow is falling from the sky, but that’s the extent of the meaning conveyed. When discussing snowy weather and conditions, consider opting for more precise terminology.

  • avalanche - conditions in which a mass of accumulated snow rapidly falls down a mountain or other slope
  • blizzard - strong, lengthy snowstorm in windy conditions that causes low visibility; typically lasts for three hours or longer with winds above 35 miles per hour
  • flurries - snowflakes that fall intermittently without resulting in accumulation of snow
  • ground blizzard - a winter storm with no new snowfall, but accumulated snow is lifted up and blown around by the wind
  • snow depth - the amount of snow that is accumulated on the ground; could result from a single snowfall or multiple snowfalls
  • snowfall - refers to conditions under which snow is falling from the sky
  • snow shower - light or moderate snowfall that lasts for a brief period of time with some accumulation
  • snow squall - a heavy snow shower accompanied by strong winds (much shorter and less severe than a blizzard)
  • snowy - weather conditions in which snow is falling, whether continuously or sporadically
  • thundersnow - thunder and lightning accompanied by snowfall (instead of rain)
  • whiteout - snowy conditions so extreme that visibility is reduced nearly to zero
  • winter storm - involves snowfall of six inches within 12 hours, eight inches within 24 hours or an accumulation of six inches of sleet
  • winter weather - blowing snow, significant accumulation (below the winter storm threshold) or some combination of freezing rain, sleet or snow
  • wintry mix - a mixture of falling snow, ice and rain

Creative Words Related to Snow

Of course, not every word for snow is a technical term. If you’re looking for some more creative words for snow, consider these options.

  • chionophobia - an intense fear of snow
  • chowder - combination of snow that’s been chopped up by skis and powder
  • post-holing - sinking into the snow as you walk
  • pow pow - super-fresh fluffy powder; the ultimate snow for skiing
  • smud - melting snow with mid mixed in
  • snice - a combination of snow and ice
  • snirt - melting snow with dirt mixed in
  • snowmageddon - slang for severe weather involving snow; combines snow and armageddon
  • snowpocalypse - another slang term a severe snow weather event; combines snow and apocalypse
  • white stuff - snow is stuff that is white
  • winter fluff - snow falls in the winter and it is fluff

Words for Snow in Other Languages

Of course, each language has its own word for snow. Discover how to say snow in a variety of languages. The phonetic pronunciation is listed in parentheses after each word.

  • unatsi (unh:utsi) - Cherokee (American Indian)
  • sníh (sɲiːx) - Czech
  • sneeuw (sneːu̯) - Dutch
  • neige (nèj) - French
  • schnee - German
  • χιόνι (chióni) - Greek
  • snjór (snjouːr) - Icelandic
  • tla (sly) - Inuit
  • neve (ne.ve) - Italian
  • nix (nɪks) - Latin
  • sniegs (snìɛks) - Latvian
  • snø (snu) - Norweigan
  • nieve (njebe) - Spanish
  • snö (snuː) - Swedish

Many Ways to Say Snow

With so many ways to say snow and precisely describe it, you don’t have to stick with the most common option. Whether you stick with the word snow itself or use a more descriptive or creative term, you’re sure to find perfect wording to meet your needs. Now that you are aware of some other words for snow, consider expanding your weather-related vocabulary even more. Start by exploring some fun winter words.