The Scottish have 421 snow-related words? Here are the 10 coolest ones
Great Scot, they’ve done it! The Scottish, I mean. A while ago, members of the Historical Thesaurus of Scots announced that they have discovered over 400 Scottish words for “snow” in their attempt to record every Scottish word in existence. If this is true, it would blow the previous (rumored) record held by the Inuit people who claim to have almost 50 words for the fluffy substance that ruins our commutes and engulfs our white fluffy dogs when we let them out to pee. Because the time when snow is going to be a daily part of our lives is on the horizon, we’ve compiled some of the “coolest” ones here.
Scowtherin (n.): a sprinkling of newly-fallen snow
Scowtherin, a term meaning “a sprinkle of snow” or a long-lost Hogwarts house dedicated to self-professed snow bunnies with a small inkling for evil? You know, the ones that look innocent in their giant puffy jackets but secretly enjoy watching people slip on patches of black ice from afar? Their emblem is a white owl with exaggerated eyebrows that make it look like it’s always angry? Anyone picking up what I’m putting down?
Fyoonach (n.): a dusting of snow
Fyoonach! Oh sorry, that was a sneeze. No, wait, it’s actually just the Scottish word for “a dusting” of snow. I can see why it’s confusing.
Maggle/Meggle (v.): to trudge laboriously through mud or snow
If I had known four years ago that my daily 20 minute walk to school, during which I climbed over snowbanks to reach the crosswalk signal button and waded through slush pools, had an official name, I would’ve gladly mumbled it under my breath the entire time instead of silently brooding about the cold weather.
Crump (n.): the sound of moving snow
You would think this word would have a much more “peaceful” ring to it considering it refers to the sound of snow flakes gliding through the air on a chilly winter night, but it really just sounds like the noise someone would make when they suddenly realize they left their work badge at home or a new English pastry or some crazy new dance move or really anything than what it actually is.
Snaw-breaker (n.): a sheep that breaks a way for others through snow for food
In an unsurprising turn of events, the Historical Thesaurus of Scots had a whole section on their website dedicated to “Snow & Sheep,” which is where I found this gem meaning “a heroic sheep” that pushes through snow to save his friends from starvation. (I sense a new Pixar movie coming on…) Snaw is one of the Scottish words for snow so it had a number of entries in the big book, including “snaw-wreath” meaning “snowdrift,” “snaw-hoard” meaning “accumulation of snow,” and “snaw-blind” meaning “glare from snow.” But none of those compare to my personal favorite, which I’ve granted its own separate category.
Snaw-ghast (n.): an apparition seen in the snow
How many times do you have to see a ghostly (or “ghastly”) figure in heavy snow until you get to create a whole new word for it? Are we one hundred percent certain that these “apparitions” the Scots are seeing are not just wandering sheep that they, in their weather-worn daze, have mistaken for ghosts? Finding a sheep in a snowstorm would be pretty terrifying, so I wouldn’t blame anyone for the confusion.
Flindrikin (n.): slight snow shower
Maybe I’ve been reading too much about The Simpsons lately but Flindrikin sounds like the name Flanders’ politically incorrect Scottish relatives that he tries not to talk about. (I’ll add it to the list of “Simpsons episodes that I wish existed.”)
Feefle (v.): to swirl
If I had the power to name a new Neopet species, I would either go for this word or “YeezyForPrez.” Feefle just sounds so fluffy and innocent, like a cuddly Gremlin-esque creature that you’d hide from your parents because you know they wouldn’t trust you living with an alien creature. Picture a dust ball with big cartoon eyes. There’s your feefle.
Sitters (n.): small drops or flakes of wind-driven rain or snow
I imagine the definition of “sitters” came about sort of like the definition of “Walkers” on The Walking Dead. Zombies walk. Snowflakes “sit,” on everything. They sit on your hair, on your car, on your brand new black sneakers, on your babysitter. They’re little sitting monsters.
Driffle (v.) to snow lightly
“Look at all those snowflakes drifting down. Drifting, like little drifters. Driffling, you might say.” That’s how I think “driffle” was invented and I’m sticking to it.
[Image via Universal Pictures]