Seeley Swan Pathfinder -

By Betty Vanderwielen

Snow language is snowballing


February 18, 2021

Perduejn, Creative Commons

A snow roller.

It used to be said Eskimos had 100 different words for snow. Now the word "Eskimo" is largely considered a pejorative term and has been replaced by Alaskan Native. With that change comes the understanding that there is no one "Eskimo" language, so the claim of 100 different words in it is a non-issue. But there is no need to look to foreign languages to find multiple names for snow. According to the Farmers' Almanac, English itself has at least 40 different terms for that cold, white, snow-flakey stuff that coats the ground in winter.

About 20 of those words are familiar: powder snow, lake...

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