Words for Snow in Spanish

Parque Nacional del Teide
Scene from el Parque Nacional del Teide in Spain. Santiago Atienza/Creative Commons

An urban legend has it that the Eskimo language has 25 (or many more, depending on the version) words for snow. While the statement is seriously flawed, it does have some truth to it: Living languages, by their very nature, come up with the words or means to describe nearly everything that people talk about and to differentiate among them.

While Spanish may not be a language instantly associated with snow — most Spanish-speaking countries are in moderate climates — it has plenty of words and phrases for the white stuff, as this listing shows.

Words and Phrases for Snow and Related Phenomena

  • el agua nieve, el aguanieve: sleet, rain mixed with snow
  • el chubasco: intense snow shower
  • la conchesta: large snowdrift
  • copo, copo de nieve: snowflake
  • la cornisa de nieve: cornice
  • la cubiera de nieve: snow cover
  • cubierto de nieve: snow-covered
  • el cúmulo de nieve: snowdrift
  • la escarcha: frost
  • escarchado: covered with frost
  • el glaciar: glacier
  • la granizada: hailstorm
  • el granizo: hail, sleet, hailstone. The verb form is granizar.
  • el granizo blando: soft hail, graupel, snow pellet
  • la helada: frost
  • helado: (adjective) frozen, very cold
  • el hielo: ice
  • la nevada: snowfall; the amount of snow that has fallen over a period of time without interruption
  • el nevado: snow-capped mountain, snowcap (Latin American usage)
  • nevar: to snow (The Spanish verb is defective in that it is used only in the third-person singular form.)
  • la nevasca: fallen snow, snowfall, snowstorm, blizzard
  • la nevazón: snowstorm (word used in parts of South America)
  • el nevero: permanent mountain snowfield or the snow in such a snowfield
  • la nieve: snow
  • la nieve amontanada: driven snow
  • la nieve artificial: artificial snow
  • la nieve derretida: melted snow, snowbroth
  • la nieve dura: crusty snow, packed snow
  • la nieve fresca: fresh snow
  • la nieve fusión: snow that becomes almost liquid when it is skied or slid upon
  • la nieve húmeda: wet snow
  • la nieve medio derretida: slush
  • la nieve polvo: powder snow; a more colloquial term is nieve azúcar. meaning "sugar snow"
  • la nieve primaveral: spring snow
  • las nieves: snowfall
  • la nieve seca: dry snow
  • la nieve virgen: virgin snow
  • la piedra: hailstone (the word can refer to any type of stone)
  • la ráfaga: flurry (the word can also be used to refer to a rain shower)
  • la tormenta de nieve: snowstorm
  • la ventisca: blizzard
  • ventiscar, ventisquear: to blow snow with a strong wind, to blow a blizzard
  • el ventisquero: snowdrift

Spanish Words for Items or Situations Related to Snow

  • aislado por la nieve: snowbound, snowed under, snowed in
  • el alud: avalanche
  • la avalancha: avalanche
  • bloqueado por la nieve: snowbound, snowed under, snowed in
  • la bolita de nieve, la bola de nieve: snowball
  • las cadenas para nieve: snow chains
  • cegado por la nieve: snow-blind
  • el esquí: ski
  • esquiar: to ski
  • la motonieve: snowmobile
  • el muñeco de nieve: snowman
  • la quitanieve, la quitanieves: snowplow
  • la raqueta de nieve: snowshoe
  • el snowboard: snowboard
  • la tabla para nieve: snowboard
  • el traje de invierno: snowsuit, winter clothing

Translations of English Words or Phrases Using "snow"

  • Blancanieves: Snow White
  • tomarle el pelo a alguien: to do a snow job on someone
  • la nieve, la cocaína: snow (slang term meaning "cocaine")
  • el raspado: snowcone (term used in parts of Latin America)

Sample Sentences

  • Siguió nevando todo el día. (It kept on snowing all day.)
  • Si has llegado a tu destino y continúa granizando, no salgas del coche hasta que pare o se debilite la tormenta. (If you have arrived at your destination and it keeps on hailing, don't leave your car until it stops or the storm weakens.)
  • El frío de la noche originó una capa de hielo en el parabrisas. (The cold of the night created a layer of ice on the windshield.)
  • La nieve dura es una de las nieves más difíciles de esquiar. (Packed snow is one of the most difficult snows for skiing.)
  • El nieve polvo de Colorado es legendaria. (The powder snow of Colorado is legendary.)
  • Los turistas de la motonieve han llegado a la meta, totalmente agotados pero muy satisfechos. (The snowmobile tourists have arrived at the destination, totally worn out but very satisfied.)
  • Corríamos el riesgo de quedar bloqueados por la nieve. (We ran the risk of remaining snowed in.)
  • Una fuerte nevada cayó en las altas cumbres, donde la gente llegó a armar muñecos. (A heavy snowfall fell in the high peaks, where people arrived to build snowmen.)
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Your Citation
Erichsen, Gerald. "Words for Snow in Spanish." ThoughtCo, Dec. 3, 2017, thoughtco.com/words-for-snow-3079597. Erichsen, Gerald. (2017, December 3). Words for Snow in Spanish. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/words-for-snow-3079597 Erichsen, Gerald. "Words for Snow in Spanish." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/words-for-snow-3079597 (accessed April 26, 2018).