[ bliz-erd ]
/ ˈblɪz ərd /


  1. a storm with dry, driving snow, strong winds, and intense cold.
  2. a heavy and prolonged snowstorm covering a wide area.
an inordinately large amount all at one time; avalanche: a blizzard of Christmas cards.

verb (used without object)

to snow as a blizzard: Looks as though it's going to blizzard tonight.

Origin of blizzard

1820–30, Americanism; earlier: violent blow, shot; compare British dial. (Midlands) blizzer, blizzom blaze, flash, anything that blinds momentarily; probably expressive formations with components of blast, blaze1, bluster, etc.
Related formsbliz·zard·y, bliz·zard·ly, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for blizzard

British Dictionary definitions for blizzard


/ (ˈblɪzəd) /


a strong bitterly cold wind accompanied by a widespread heavy snowfall

Word Origin for blizzard

C19: of uncertain origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for blizzard



"strong, sustained snowstorm," 1859, origin obscure (perhaps somehow connected with blaze (n.1)); it came into general use in the U.S. in this sense the hard winter 1880-81. OED says it probably is "more or less onomatopœic," and adds "there is nothing to indicate a French origin." Before that it typically meant "violent blow," also "hail of gunfire" in American English from 1829, and blizz "violent rainstorm" is attested from 1770. The winter storm sense perhaps is originally a colloquial figurative use in the Upper Midwest of the U.S.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for blizzard


[ blĭzərd ]

A violent snowstorm with winds blowing at a minimum speed of 56 km (35 mi) per hour and visibility of less 400 m (0.25 mi) for three hours.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.