03 February 2017


Talking about the weather is second nature to us and is a well understood and accepted way to fill a gap when there’s a bit of a lull or hiatus in the conversation.
And, if it happens to be snowing, you can bet that we’ve all got something to say on the topic.

So, just how many Welsh words and terms are there to describe snow?
In the Dictionary of the Welsh Language there are quite a number, some of them very old.
For example, briwod (fine snow driven by the wind), and cynneiry (a first fall of snow) are mentioned in the c.1400 Red Book of Hergest.
The poet Iolo Goch, writing in the 14th century, refers to snow as ‘nyf’ whereas Dafydd ap Gwilym talks about ôd, a word that remains in use in some regions through the verb odi (snowing).

On a snowy ‘eiriog’ day, you might receive a fine dusting ‘ffluwch’, a light shower ‘ffrechen’, or a gentle fall ‘sgimpen’. Snow blowing in on the wind ‘eirwynt’ can cause a drift ‘lluwch’ or ‘lluchfa’ of fine snow ‘manod’ (mân ôd, eira mân) sufficient to keep us off the roads and from getting to work. And, inevitably, after a few days the pristine white ‘gwynneiry’ and wind-blown snow ‘hiffiant’ will turn to unsightly and dirty slush ‘isgell’ or ‘potes eira’.

Do you know of any old or unusual local or regional words for snow or other variety of weather?
Have a look to see if they are recorded in, the free to use, GPC Online and, if you don’t find a corresponding entry please get in touch with us at or write to us at: Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru, CAWCS, National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth SY23 3HH to let us know.
We very much look forward to hearing from you.

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