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 sleeting

Historical Examples of sleeting

  • It was an awful night, raining and sleeting—but he took no notice of the weather.

    Heart and Science

    Wilkie Collins

  • It had been sleeting and the pavements here and there were still icy.

    Philip Dru: Administrator

    Edward Mandell House

  • Last night it was sleeting just a little, and he had to have a taxi-cab.

  • It was then sleeting from the north, consequently I had to face it.

    A Texas Cow Boy

    Chas. A. Siringo

  • Discovering it to be sleeting, he returned for his overcoat.

    The Rules of the Game

    Stewart Edward White

British Dictionary definitions for sleeting



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 sleeting



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

sleeting 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.