precipitation in the form of ice pellets created by the freezing of rain as it falls (distinguished from hail2).
Chiefly British. a mixture of rain and snow.

verb (used without object)

to send down sleet.
to fall as or like sleet.

Origin of sleet

1250–1300; (noun) Middle English slete; akin to Low German slote, German Schlossen hail; (v.) Middle English sleten, derivative of the noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sleeted

Historical Examples of sleeted

  • It rained, and sleeted, and then snowed, but the ground was too wet to hold the snow.

  • And what could be prettier, he said, than the woods after it sleeted all night, and hoar frost finished the job!

    Old Caravan Days

    Mary Hartwell Catherwood

  • It had rained all day, except when it sleeted, and of course we were wet through, yet we dare not light a fire.

  • For the four days during which we were detained at this station it rained, sleeted, and snowed alternately and unceasingly.

  • The road was a perfect glare of ice, and everything above ground was literally plated with sleeted frost.

    The Old Pike

    Thomas B. Searight

British Dictionary definitions for sleeted



partly melted falling snow or hail or (esp US) partly frozen rain
mainly US the thin coat of ice that forms when sleet or rain freezes on cold surfaces


(intr) to fall as sleet
Derived Formssleety, adjective

Word Origin for sleet

C13: from Germanic; compare Middle Low German slōten hail, Middle High German slōze, German Schlossen hailstones
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 sleeted



c.1300, slete, either from an unrecorded Old English *slete, *slyte, related to Middle High German sloz, Middle Low German sloten (plural) "hail," from Proto-Germanic *slautjan- (cf. dialectal Norwegian slutr, Danish slud, Swedish sloud "sleet"), from root *slaut-.



early 14c., from sleet (n.). Related: Sleeted; sleeting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

sleeted in Science



Precipitation that falls to earth in the form of frozen or partially frozen raindrops, often when the temperature is near the freezing point. Sleet usually leaves the cloud in the form of snow that melts as it passes through warm layers of air during its descent. The raindrops and partially melted snowflakes then freeze in the colder layers nearer the earth before striking the ground as pellets of ice, which usually bounce. By contrast,hail forms by the accumulation of layers of ice on the hailstone as it moves up and down in the cloud, and hailstones can become much larger than sleet pellets. The word sleet is also used informally to describe a mixture of snow, sleet, and rain.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.