It’s often said that the Inuit have dozens of words for snow. Well, researchers compiling a historical thesaurus of Scots at the University of Glasgow have found that that language has over 400 words for snow. They include: flindrikin, a light snow shower, spitters, small drops or flakes of wind-driven rain or snow, feefle, meaning ‘to swirl’, sneesl, to begin to rain or snow, and nester, to drizzle, rain or snow slightly. There are words more likely to be used by children, too, such as Katty-clean-doors, a child’s word for snow, and brizz, to make (a slide), by beating and stamping snow until it is hard and smooth.
Some of these words were discussed on Radio 4’s Today programme this morning (listen to the clip here). The website of the Historical Thesaurus of Scots is here.