Posted by: Jack Henry | March 10, 2022

Editor’s Corner: Wintery Words

Good morning to you. Spring is just around the corner, but before we say goodbye to winter, I thought you might appreciate a collection of wintery words that you may not knowat least not all of them. Quite a few are new to me, but then I live in southern California where we havent got a clue what a real winter is like. We have heard all about it and seen it on TV and in movies though, which is probably just about the same. (Im kidding! I know Im a winter wimp!)

I found this list on I hope you enjoy it along with the last vestiges of the season.

  • hibernal: of or relating to winter; wintry
    Hibernal comes from the Latin hbernus, meaning wintery. In Latin, hiems means winter. There is another word that traces back to this root: hibernate, like bears do during the winter.
  • apricity: the warmth of the sun in the winter
    This word comes from the Latin aprcri, to bask in the sun. The word largely fell out of use by the end of the 19th century, but it has seen an uptick in recent years in branding and marketing.
  • brume: mist; fog
    The word brume comes from the Latin for winter, brma. If you have ever walked through a brume, you know how damp and chilly it is.
  • brumal: Confusingly, the word brumal does not mean misty or foggy, as you might expect from the meaning of brume. Brumal goes back to that same Latin root, brma, for its meaning. Therefore, brumal means wintry.
  • hoarfrost: Known more generally as simply frost. The hoar- part of the word literally means white-haired with age or old. However, it is also used to refer to a white coating or veneer. In other words, hoarfrost is a layer of white frost.
  • rime: an opaque coating of tiny, white, granular ice particles, caused by the rapid freezing of supercooled water droplets on impact with an object
    If you have ever seen frost that makes the trees look like they are covered in spikes, that is likely rime.
  • nv: granular snow accumulated on high mountains and subsequently compacted into glacial ice
    Another word for this kind of snow is firn, from Swiss German for last years [snow], or simply old snow. Nv ultimately comes from the Latin nivtus, meaning snow-cooled.
  • gelation: solidification by cold; freezing
    The word gelation ultimately comes from the Latin geltus. If this Latin word looks familiar, that may be because it is also at the root of the word gelatin.
  • cauldrife: susceptible to cold; chilly
    It can also mean lifeless, as in a corpse. The cauld- part of the word simply means cold in Scottish, while the -rife part of the word means abundantly, copiously, from the same root as the English rife.
  • wintertide: wintertime
    You may have come across other examples of words that end in -tide, including noontide, eventide, and yuletide. In all of these examples, -tide means time, from the Old English td, meaning time or hour.
  • isocheim: a line on a map connecting points that have the same mean weather temperatureNot every part of the world experiences winter at the same time. In 19th-century climatology, one way winter weather was analyzed referred to the isocheim [ ahysuh-kahym
    ]. Iso- is a combining form meaning equal, and -cheim comes from the Greek for winter. Isocheim literally means, then, equal winter.
  • latibulize: to retire into a den and lie dormant
    The word latibulize comes from the Latin latibulum, meaning a hiding place.
  • arctic: of or relating to the North Pole
    The word arctic (without a capital letter) is used more generally to mean characteristic of the extremely cold, snowy, windy weather; frigid; bleak. In other words, even if you arent literally at the North Pole, it can sometimes feel that way.
  • Samhain: a festival observed by the ancient Celts
    The beginning of winter was marked with the festival of Samhain [ sah-win ]. You may be familiar with some elements of Samhain, because many of the traditions associated with Halloween are thought to have originated with this holiday. However, unlike Halloween, Samhain is typically observed on November 1.

Donna Bradley Burcher |Technical Editor, Advisory | Symitar

8985 Balboa Ave. | San Diego, CA 92123 | Ph. 619.278.0432 | Ext: 765432

Pronouns she/her/hers

About Editors Corner

Editors Corner keeps your communication skills sharp by providing information on grammar, punctuation, JHA style, and all things English. As editors, we spend our days reading, researching, and revising other peoples writing. We love to spend a few extra minutes to share what we learn with you and keep it fun while were doing it.

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