Snow terms

Whether or not there’s any truth to the proverbial assertion that Aleuts have 17 words for snow (and Navajo an equivalent number for another state of environment), I am hearing snow lore and terms here that I somehow never heard in my previous incarnations in such snowy climes as New York, New England and Ohio.

One is offered regularly by virtually everyone around me, and I do mean offered, as though it is a fine bon mots that will keep me from error’s door.  “Little flakes, big snow.  Big flakes, little snow.”  That one seems to be borne out, at least here, but I can’t remember if it was true in my previous snow-winters.

One that was new to me today was “cosmetic snow.”  This apt term describes the falling of some (big) flakes after a previous snowfall has aged just past its beauty point.  The new dusting restores both the pristine white and the sense of fresh crystals.  Cosmetic snow doesn’t create any new need to shovel.  It is, purely, an aid to appearances.


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