Scottish word of the week: Snell

Travelling the streets can be hard when faced with snell (piercingly cold) winds and snow. Picture: TSPL

Travelling the streets can be hard when faced with snell (piercingly cold) winds and snow. Picture: TSPL

0
Have your say

THE chances are over the next few days, and indeed coming weeks, you’ll find yourself facing some snell (piercingly cold) weather.

The expression snell is mainly used to refer to the most biting of weather, the type that you can feel right down to the bone.

It is most commonly used when referring to the wind, and is thought to be a derivative of the old English word for quick or sharp, and the German word schnell, an adjective or adverb also meaning quick or swift.

It can also apply to a person, someone who is snell would be stern and severe, while a snell remark may be considered sniping and caustic.

CONNECT WITH THE SCOTSMAN

Subscribe to our daily newsletter (requires registration) and get the latest news, sport and business headlines delivered to your inbox every morning

• You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Google +

Scottish words for the weather might not number as many as the Inuit and native tribes of North America’s words might do for snow, but there are certainly more than a few.

Unsurprisingly, the most numerous of them tend to refer to differing types of rain, such as smirr (a light rain), gandiegow (heavy rain) and sump (a great downpour).

However, a select few are more than apt for the coming month of January, when Scotland tends to be at it’s coldest.

This one month tends to see the worst of the snell weather. It’s the time of the year when you’re most likely to hear the expression “It’s fair jeelit (freezing) outside” as travellers come inside to make themselves warm and to escape the wreaths (drifts of snow).

So be sure to wrap up when heading outside over the next few months so that you don’t end up chittering (shivering) in the snell winds.

SEE ALSO:

Scottish words for the Christmas season

Scottish festive tradition: Burning the Cailleach

SCOTSMAN TABLET AND IPHONE APPS

• Download your free 30-day trial for our iPad, Android and Kindle apps

Keep up to date with all aspects of Scottish life with The Scotsman iPhone app, completely free to download and use

Back to the top of the page