- Meteorology. a precipitation in the form of ice crystals, mainly of intricately branched, hexagonal form and often agglomerated into snowflakes, formed directly from the freezing of the water vapor in the air.Compare ice crystals, snow grains, snow pellets.
- these flakes as forming a layer on the ground or other surface.
- the fall of these flakes or a storm during which these flakes fall.
- something resembling a layer of these flakes in whiteness, softness, or the like: the snow of fresh linen.
- white blossoms.
- the white color of snow.
- Slang. cocaine or heroin.
- white spots or bands on a television screen caused by a weak signal.Compare hash1(def 5).
- to send down snow; fall as snow.
- to descend like snow.
- to let fall as or like snow.
- to make an overwhelming impression on: The view really snowed them.
- to persuade or deceive: She was snowed into believing everything.
- snow under,
- to cover with or bury in snow.
- to overwhelm with a larger amount of something than can be conveniently dealt with.
- to defeat overwhelmingly.
Origin of snow
- precipitation from clouds in the form of flakes of ice crystals formed in the upper atmosphereRelated adjective: niveous
- a layer of snowflakes on the ground
- a fall of such precipitation
- anything resembling snow in whiteness, softness, etc
- the random pattern of white spots on a television or radar screen, produced by noise in the receiver and occurring when the signal is weak or absent
- slang cocaine
- See carbon dioxide snow
- (intr; with it as subject) to be the case that snow is falling
- (tr; usually passive, foll by over, under, in, or up) to cover or confine with a heavy fall of snow
- (often with it as subject) to fall or cause to fall as or like snow
- (tr) US and Canadian slang to deceive or overwhelm with elaborate often insincere talkSee snow job
- be snowed under to be overwhelmed, esp with paperwork
- C (harles) P (ercy), Baron. 1905–80, British novelist and physicist. His novels include the series Strangers and Brothers (1949–70)
Word Origin and History for snow under
Old English snaw "snow, that which falls as snow; a fall of snow; a snowstorm," from Proto-Germanic *snaiwaz (cf. Old Saxon and Old High German sneo, Old Frisian and Middle Low German sne, Middle Dutch snee, Dutch sneeuw, German Schnee, Old Norse snjor, Gothic snaiws "snow"), from PIE root *sniegwh- "snow; to snow" (cf. Greek nipha, Latin nix (genitive nivis), Old Irish snechta, Irish sneachd, Welsh nyf, Lithuanian sniegas, Old Prussian snaygis, Old Church Slavonic snegu, Russian snieg', Slovak sneh "snow"). The cognate in Sanskrit, snihyati, came to mean "he gets wet." As slang for "cocaine" it is attested from 1914.
c.1300, replacing Old English sniwan, which would have yielded modern snew (which existed as a parallel form until 17c. and, in Yorkshire, even later), from the root of snow (n.). Cf. Middle Dutch sneuuwen, Dutch sneeuwen, Old Norse snjova, Swedish snöga.
Also þikke as snow þat snew,
Or al so hail þat stormes blew.
[Robert Mannyng of Brunne, transl. Wace's "Chronicle," c.1330]
The figurative sense of "overwhelm; surround, cover, and imprison" (as deep snows can do to livestock) is 1880, American English, in phrase to snow (someone) under. Snow job "strong, persistent persuasion in a dubious cause" is World War II armed forces slang, probably from the same metaphoric image.
- Precipitation that falls to earth in the form of ice crystals that have complex branched hexagonal patterns. Snow usually falls from stratus and stratocumulus clouds, but it can also fall from cumulus and cumulonimbus clouds.
Idioms and Phrases with snow under
Overwhelm, overpower, as in I can't go; I'm just snowed under with work, or We were snowed under by more votes than we could have anticipated. This expression alludes to being buried in snow. [Late 1800s]
In addition to the idioms beginning with snow
- snow job
- snow under
- pure as the driven snow