As the southern hemisphere turns now towards the colder months we are all finding comfort into our nests and getting cosy for the winter. In New Zealand and the southern parts of Australia we are experiencing snow in the alpine regions. So it seems appropriate now to talk about the many ancient words for snow.
As you might guess, words for snow are linguistically numerous in Scandanavia and northern Europe as well as in Inuit and first nations people in Canada and Alaska.
Here are some beautiful words to inspire you this winter (or summer, as the case may be where you are).
It’s snowing ‘lappvantar’ (snowflakes big as gloves ).
OLD SCOTS: Flukra
Flukra” – snow falling in large flakes (Scots, esp. Shetland); cf “skalva”, soft flaky snow (from Old Norse “skaf”; a peeling, a flake). “Muckle flukra” are very large snowflakes.
“Muckle flukra,” Scots for snow falling in big flakes.
“Skalva,” norse for soft flakes. Lovely, and fun to say! And metaphorically pleasing. It was Imbolc, and as the skalva gave way to muckle flukra, she felt a sky full of trouble descending.
“det snør kjerringer” it snows old wives
Or vlokka: It’s snowing in Dutch
Polish: Platek sniegu
A snowflake in Polish
Corsican: u floccante
Icelandic – snjókorn