Definition of snow in US English:



  • 1Atmospheric water vapor frozen into ice crystals and falling in light white flakes or lying on the ground as a white layer.

    ‘we were trudging through deep snow’
    ‘the first snow of the season’
    • ‘Precipitation falling as snow complicates the water balance as defined in this way, but the principles are the same.’
    • ‘There was a heavy, wet snow falling gently on the harbour.’
    • ‘I expected to see snow on the mountains, it was that cold.’
    • ‘Halfway to the Northern palace, two days into the journey, night fell as fresh snow floated to the ground.’
    • ‘The film is astonishingly beautiful in its pristine silver light, with snow on the ground and a weak sun low over the city.’
    • ‘Having inserted it perpendicularly into the lying snow, it still did not touch the ground.’
    • ‘He stood up too and they walked out, their boots crunching though the thin layer of slush and snow covering the ground.’
    • ‘In dry-winter areas that don't freeze or have much snow, water perennials once a month on a sunny, warm day to keep them alive and healthy.’
    • ‘He found her sitting alone next to a window, watching snow falling onto the ground.’
    • ‘For it to be deemed a white Christmas, at least one flake of snow has to fall on the roof of the London weather centre.’
    • ‘To the south there are high mountains, covered in thick spring snow.’
    • ‘She landed gently, the winds swirling around her, picking up the small flakes of snow from the ground.’
    • ‘A thin layer of white snow now lay upon the ground and still more was falling heavily.’
    • ‘Shoveling snow was beginning to wear on me.’
    • ‘Outside, snow fell: fat flakes adhering to the windows and frosting the glass in translucent white.’
    • ‘This is because the snow is blown around in the wind, and it is hard to know the difference between falling and drifting snow.’
    • ‘The tragic ending is atmospheric, with snow falling on a procession of women carrying red lanterns.’
    • ‘A thin layer of snow had covered the ground and I was freezing.’
    • ‘As wet, fluffy snow fell throughout the day, many protestors began tossing snowballs at riot police.’
    • ‘When the vapor condenses into rain or freezes to make snow, the precipitation is acid, which can fall into lakes.’
    snowflakes, flakes, snowdrift, snowfield, snowpack
    View synonyms
  • 2A mass of flickering white spots on a television or radar screen, caused by interference or a poor signal.

    • ‘The television shows some snow all over the screen, until a blue screen shows ‘play’ on it.’
    • ‘The image was only partially there and most of it was static and white snow from the interference but what he wanted Boswell to see was indeed on the tape.’
    • ‘The television filled with digital snow, casting a pale glow about the darkened room.’
    • ‘Because it certainly looked like it on my television, and we have a digital signal, so it couldn't have been snow or interference.’
  • 3A dessert or other dish resembling snow.

    ‘vanilla snow’
    • ‘At first the technique was used to make a simple, uncooked dish called snow, made from egg white and cream.’
    1. 3.1with modifier A frozen gas resembling snow.
      ‘carbon dioxide snow’
      • ‘The first cryogens were liquid air and compressed carbon dioxide snow.’
  • 4informal Cocaine.


  • 1be snowed inno object Snow falls.

    ‘it's not snowing so heavily now’
    • ‘He peeks out of the tent to discover that it is snowing.’
    • ‘Nate almost didn't see the jeep that was ahead of him, because it had started snowing pretty heavily.’
    • ‘It was snowing heavily and within minutes the lawn was covered in a sheet of pristine white.’
    • ‘The weather wasn't really improving it was starting to snow pretty heavily and I feared that the traffic would be a disaster.’
    • ‘At the end of the road we stop and it is snowing fairly heavily.’
    • ‘I've just spoken to Sasha, twenty miles away in London, where it is snowing.’
    • ‘It was snowing, not heavily but lightly and he decided not to cancel the match.’
    • ‘We were also out for Christmas break and it has snowed overnight.’
    • ‘You live in Canada, it snows here in the winter, get over it.’
    • ‘That evening it continued snowing heavily as the night grew colder.’
    • ‘Christy peaked out the window and saw that it had snowed overnight.’
    • ‘They are saying it will snow again tonight.’
    • ‘When it snowed hard, we were cut off from our suppliers.’
    • ‘I looked outside, and saw that it had started to snow really hard.’
    • ‘I feel so cozy inside when it is snowing - something I miss from living in Edmonton.’
    • ‘This may mean having to check periodically if it is snowing.’
    • ‘And it hasn't snowed up here since I've been up here.’
    • ‘This morning… can you believe it… it is snowing!’
    • ‘It snowed heavily for five hours, and then stopped.’
    • ‘It was snowing heavily, which is normal for New Zealand in August.’
    1. 1.1be snowed in Be confined or blocked by a large quantity of snow.
      ‘I was snowed in for a week’
      • ‘We were snowed in, the snow had stopped just before the top of the windows.’
      • ‘We were having a wonderful time being snowed in at the Mayflower with our friends.’
      • ‘So the trapper gathered the furs and snow-packed barrels of meats upon a sled, and pushed it through the passes before they were snowed in by the winter.’
      • ‘Soon after we moved into our present house in a village near Bath, some 20 years ago, we were snowed in for a week.’
      • ‘They have a windproof shelter, and if they get bored with being snowed in, they can eat the walls.’
      • ‘Last year we were snowed in and it took two days to clear the snow away.’
      • ‘Also in 1945 we went into the Welsh Mountains to help feed people who were snowed in.’
      • ‘On one occasion we were snowed in and the four boys all had chicken pox so we moved out to a rented cottage in Roxburgh until the snow thawed.’
      • ‘It had been planned that White would join them last Wednesday morning but he could not arrive at Headingley until later in the day after being snowed in at his Scarborough home.’
      • ‘We were all promised blizzards and arctic blasts today, and I dare say everyone was looking forward to being snowed in and enjoying a day off work snuggled up in front of the telly.’
      • ‘I look in the rear view mirror and it's like we've been snowed in.’
      • ‘She finally settled in New Mexico, building an adobe house with her own hands on a remote mesa where in winter she was snowed in for weeks at a time…’
      • ‘So instead of being snowed in at the airport, I was fogged in.’
      • ‘When they wanted to look at the animals up around the Port Hills, in winter the area was snowed up and they could get there in a four wheel drive, but in spring and in autumn it was so wet that they could not get up there.’
      • ‘Twenty years ago, on a ski holiday in Norway, Jeremy was snowed in for a couple of days and came up with the idea of using mountain rescue as the basis for a novel.’
      • ‘We were snowed in so I couldn't go outside at all.’
      • ‘We were snowed in again over the weekend, to our great indignation.’
      • ‘Remember the last time we were snowed in together?’
      • ‘He was at Bacup during the severe winter of 1947, when trains were snowed up in the Whitworth area.’
      • ‘We joke about the long winter nights and the risks of being snowed in.’
  • 2North American informal with object Mislead or charm (someone) with elaborate and insincere words.

    ‘they would snow the public into believing that all was well’
    • ‘The organization has a proud history of running its own show and snowing successive governments to further its own quite remarkable self interest.’
    • ‘I'm afraid that those who might be snowed by the report's valiant attempt to pass off hope for potential are few.’
    • ‘Then he snows her with rapid-fire comments and returns to the ‘you're forgiven’ angle.’
    • ‘He used you people, played on your sympathy and thoroughly snowed you.’
    • ‘She knew she ought to be furious; he hadn't exactly snowed her, but he'd taken advantage of a faith she didn't put in many people, of the memories of her childhood.’
    • ‘He quickly came up with a 10 point plan to ensure that CEOs could never snow their investors like that again.’
    • ‘It really is scary how many people have been snowed by the current administrations' policies.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • be snowed under

    • Be overwhelmed with a large quantity of something, especially work.

      ‘he's been snowed under with urgent cases’
      • ‘Well, and it's not just patients and their families that are being snowed under by the paperwork in the bureaucracy.’
      • ‘I expected to be snowed under with applications but we have only received 67 and time is running out.’
      • ‘He says he has now paid the client her £400, while the delays in replying to the letters happened when he was snowed under with work.’
      • ‘I've been snowed under with bursary and applying for med school.’
      • ‘For the past three months, ambulance crews like 735 have been snowed under with calls.’
      • ‘And such has been the demand that the ticket office has still been snowed under by requests, with officials at the club not expecting to know the final figures until later this week.’
      • ‘Over the last few months, the two committees have been snowed under with work.’
      • ‘If he has been snowed under lately, blame the Highland weather.’
      • ‘I have been snowed under by a request to know what colour this farm is; red, yellow or green.’
      • ‘There wasn't a holiday in the UK, so people were still sending me e-mail, but I took an hour or two at lunch time and cleared them, so that I wouldn't be snowed under when I got in today.’
      • ‘Experience shows that many directors face one of two challenges: either having far too little information to gain a proper perspective on a company's financial health, or being snowed under by too much information.’
      • ‘He claims to be snowed under with correspondence.’
      • ‘Last time we were snowed under with similar letters my colleague sent the following reply.’
      • ‘The city's cat shelter is snowed under with new arrivals, as summer is their busiest period, being similar to the post-Christmas boom in unwanted dogs.’
      • ‘I was snowed under in college with exams, just as I am with projects now.’
      • ‘Naturally this column has no understanding of how this happened, but it would be nice to think that we will not be snowed under by complaints about a) its alumni events or b) problems with the alumni website in the future.’
      • ‘The report, for the year 1999, shows the 11 member board is snowed under by a growing backlog of complaints despite a fall in the number of fresh complaints for that year.’
      • ‘But I just started 6th form college and I've been snowed under with work.’
      • ‘One respondent told the researchers, ‘Everyone seems to be snowed under now.’’
      • ‘I genuinely hope that I don't get time to read these books, due to the fact that I'll be snowed under doing miscellaneous ‘other things’ that I can't really talk about at the moment.’
      inundate, overwhelm, overload, overrun, flood, swamp, deluge, engulf
      View synonyms


Old English snāw, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch sneeuw and German Schnee, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin nix, niv- and Greek nipha.