very dry powder snow which whirls around (when travelling with sledge, etc)


  1. Intrigued to hear that the Inuit have 100 words for snow, I cruised the net and found that they actually have 4 to 400! :-) The number depends on your criteria. But whatever your final tally, any people living in a cold climate will develop a multitude of such words.

    As someone who grew up in Finland, a country with more than its fair share of cold, I wanted to see how many words for snow and ice I could come up with in Finnish, my native tongue. I have spoken English daily for about 30 years, so I was pretty sure that there are more of these words in Finnish than in English. My uncle and aunt Kimmo and Sinikka Karimo joined me, and we easily came up with 75 words. Our list is attached.

    Our criteria for accepting words was pretty generous, and thus our list includes for example the various types of ice that cover bodies of water (33.-37.) as well as combination nouns to describe pieces of ice (58.-66.). Here I should mention that my uncle is a limnologist and knows a thing or two about water and its forms! (My daughter is also about to start a doctoral program in glaciology at U Oregon...!) In general, however, we limited our list to words that directly relate to the H2O matter and its various presentations (snow, sleet, ice, frozen, etc) and did not include words for ice hockey, snow ball, and the like. Out of the 75 words, 71 are nouns with 4 verbs thrown in (44.-46., 75.). As my uncle noted, we could have easily grown our list if we had chosen to include words not in common usage and, especially, words from the dialects of Finnish, which brim with synonyms.

    It is interesting to see our list contain highly specialized words, such as “tykky” which means snow stuck and frozen on a tree, “hanki” for a snow dune, and “pakkanen” for temperature and/or weather below freezing. All speak about a culture where snow and ice play a large role in daily life. “Pakkanen”, by the way, is an everyday word that crops up many times a day in the winter. Note that there isn’t an English equivalent for it.

    Outi Papamarcos

    1. Lumi
    2. Räntä
    3. Loska
    4. Sohjo
    5. Nuoska
    6. Suoja
    7. Pyry
    8. Tuisku
    9. Hanki
    10. Kinos
    11. Nietos
    12. Puuterilumi
    13. Jää
    14. Halla
    15. Pakkanen
    16. Jäätikkö
    17. Routa
    18. Hile
    19. Rakeinen lumi
    20. Kiteinen lumi
    21. Hiutaleinen lumi
    22. Kantava lumi (hanki)
    23. Irtolumi
    24. Ensilumi
    25. Huurre
    26. Härmä
    27. Riite
    28. Kuura (huurre)
    29. Viti (pienikiteinen lumi, -keli)
    30. Kirsi (routa)
    31. Paanne (maasta uhkunut, jäätynyt vesi esim. tiellä)
    32. Suppo (virtaavassa, alijäähtyneessä vedessä sohjo jää)
    33. Peilijää (tyvenellä jäätynyt vedenpinta)
    34. Teräsjää (sitkeä syysjää)
    35. Ahtojää (ahtautunut jääröykkiö)
    36. Pillijää (sulava kevätjää)
    37. Lautasjää (rikkoutuneet, veden pyörittämät palaset)
    38. Hankikanto, hankinen (kantava hanki)
    39. Purkuilma (rankka pyry)
    40. Tulipalopakkanen (kireä pakkanen)
    41. Paukkupakkanen (kireä pakkanen)
    42. Raekuuro, rae
    43. Myräkkä (lumimyrsky)
    44. Tupruta (lunta)
    45. Viskoa, heitellä (lunta)
    46. Kimaltaa (kiteet, lumi)
    47. Ikijää
    48. “Menneen talven lumi” (veden kierrossa)
    49. Tykky (puihin kertynyt ja jäätynyt lumi)
    50. Lumen murto (tykkylumen katkoma puu)
    51. Hyhmä (lunta vedessä)
    52. Hölse (lunta vedessä)
    53. Lumihiude (kevyttä lumihiutaletta)
    54. Uhku (maasta tihkuva ja jäätyvä vesisohjo)
    55. Uhkujää (heikosti jäässä)
    56. Kohvajää (heikosti jäässä)
    57. Jääkierä (lumeton syysjää)
    58. Jäähile (pikkuruinen)
    59. Jäähilse (pikkuruinen)
    60. Jääneulanen (pikkuruinen)
    61. Jääkide (pikkuruinen)
    62. Jääsiru (pikkuruinen)
    63. Jääteli (isomoinen)
    64. Jäälohkare (isomoinen)
    65. Jääkapana (isomoinen)
    66. Jäähillo (isomoinen)
    67. Jääkerkkä (jääpuikko)
    68. Piiskalumi (jäätynyt lumi)
    69. Jääpeite (esim. jäätynyt tie, piha)
    70. Iljanne (esim. jäätynyt tie, piha)
    71. Iljanko (esim. jäätynyt tie, piha)
    72. Kaljama (esim. jäätynyt tie, piha)
    73. Kieppi (riekon ‘lumiluola’ pakkasella)
    74. Vesikeli (nuoskaa vetisempi keli)
    75. Talvi suveaa (lumi sulaa, mennään suvea kohti)

    1. pälvi
      Auringon lämmittäessä syntyy lumen peittämään maahan pälviä (lumeton paikka).
      terv. Sari

  2. This is precious!
    If you'll have time to grown the list with dialect words it will be perfect!
    Last week I was in the dialect archive of the "Research Institute of Finnish Language" and I found more interesting words!!
    The richness of your language is very precious, is something that need to be preserve!
    With the global warming, the climate is changing and the nuances of your language risk to be lost.
    For the moment I'm trying to collect all the words, concerning snow and ice, without discrimination.

    Thank you very much for your contribution.

  3. Etelä-Karjalassa hankikanto on hankiainen.