Other Words for "Snow": Synonyms, Adjectives, and Wintery Vibes

list of four other words for "snow" from the article
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The word snow brings different pictures to mind, depending on where you live. Those who live in warmer climates may imagine snow as a soft, white blanket, draped lovingly over a winter neighborhood. But people who are well-acquainted with snow may picture walls of ice, dagger-like icicles, and wild, slippery roads instead. What does snow bring to mind for you — and are there more descriptive words for it than one four-letter word?

Other Words for “Snow” in Writing

The English word snow comes from the Latin word nix and the Old English word snāw.

But when you’re writing about a beautiful winter scene in a short story, poem, or novel, the word snow doesn’t always cut it. Use these fun winter words and phrases to describe a picturesque layer of frozen condensation.

  • cold crystals
  • cotton cloud
  • frosty paradise
  • frozen canvas
  • frozen fluff
  • frozen stardust
  • lacy blanket
  • lacy tablecloth
  • polar quilt
  • powdered gems
  • sparkling white blanket
  • white blanket
  • white crystals
  • winter wonderland
  • winter’s wooly blanket
  • wintry quilt
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Adjectives To Describe Snow

If you’re looking for words that describe snow, try these cold adjectives out in your writing instead.

  • arctic
  • biting
  • bright
  • cloud-soft
  • crystalline
  • dappled
  • diamond-dotted
  • flaky
  • flecked
  • fluffy
  • frosty
  • frozen
  • ice-white
  • icy
  • opaque
  • powdery
  • sparkling
  • soft
  • solid

Other Words for Different Types of Snow

Not all snow is created equal. Some snow is fluffy and fun; other snow is wet and muddy. How can you describe the differences between the many types of snow with weather words? Several weather words (and a sprinkling of snowboarder slang) can help you out.

Weather Term

Meaning

chowder

ski slang for a combination of snow that’s been chopped up by skis and powder

corn snow

snow that becomes granulated by repeatedly freezing, melting, then refreezing

cornice

a mass of ice and snow that forms an overhang

crust

a hard layer of snow on top of a softer layer

drift

a hill of snow blown into place by wind

finger drift

narrow, fingerlike drifts of snow that stretch across roads

flurry

snowflakes that fall intermittently without accumulating on the ground

frost

frozen water droplets

frozen water vapor

water that condenses to ice without first going into a liquid state

graupel

similar to hail but smaller and less hard

grue

thin floating snow

hoarfrost

feathery frost that has frozen into long grains

lake effect snow

snow that forms when below freezing air goes over one of the Great Lakes, which are warmer than the air

new snow

fresh snow accumulation in which individual crystals of ice are visible

névé

partially compacted snow that is almost glacial ice

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

pow pow

snowboarder slang for super-fresh fluffy powder; the ultimate snow for skiing

powder

snow with fresh ice crystals that are still loose

skift

light dusting of snow

sleet

snow and rain mixed together

slush

watery snow that has started to melt

smud

slang for melting snow with mud mixed in

snice

slang for snow and ice

snirt

slang for melting snow with dirt mixed in

sposh

accumulated snow that has started to melt and become slushy

winter fluff

fluffy, delightful snow

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definition of "cornice" from the article
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    mountaineer climbing along a snowy cornice with cornice meaning
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Terms for Snowy Weather and Conditions

What’s the difference between a blizzard and a snow squall? Knowing the difference could possibly save your life (in a real way, not a grammar way).

Weather Term

Meaning

avalanche

conditions in which a mass of accumulated snow rapidly falls down a mountain or other slope

blizzard

a strong, lengthy snowstorm in windy conditions that causes low visibility; typically lasts for three hours or longer, with winds above 35 miles per hour

ground blizzard

a winter storm with no new snowfall, but accumulated snow is lifted up and blown around by the wind

firnification

process by which snow becomes névé (partially compacted)

onding

heavy snowfall, but not quite a blizzard

snowmageddon

slang for severe weather involving snow; combines snow and Armageddon

snowpocalypse

slang for a severe snow weather event; combines snow and apocalypse

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

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definition of "snowmageddon" from the article
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Words for "Snow" in Other Languages

Every language has its own word for snow — and in cultures that live in snowy parts of the world, they have many words for snow.

Language

Word for Snow

Pronunciation

Cherokee

unatsi

(uh-nuh-tsee)

Chinese

xuě (雪)

(sheh)

Czech

sníh

(sneeh)

Dutch

sneeuw

(sneh-ew)

French

neige

(neej)

German

schnee

(shnee)

Greek

χιόνι

(sho-nee)

Icelandic

snjór

(shnoh)

Inuktitut

qanik (falling snow)

(kun-nik)

Inuktitut

aputi (snow on the ground)

(ah-puh-tee)

Japanese

yuki (雪)

(yoo-kee)

Norwegian

snø

(snuh)

Spanish

nieve

(nee-eh-veh)

Swedish

snö

(snuh)

Winter Words (and Spring, and Fall, and Summer)

There’s more to snow than those four letters — and there’s more to nature than the coldest time of the year. After you’ve described your peaceful winter scene, move on to the other seasons with nature words that describe the beauty of Earth.