Word Family - Snow

February theme: Weather ⛈️


Nevada, snow

Full Text

  • Proto-Indo-European *sneygʷʰ- to snow
    • Proto-Indo-European *snigʷʰ(e)ti (it) snows imperfective [1]
      • Balto-Slavic *snigtei
        • East Baltic
          • Lithuanian snigti to snow
        • Finnic *niɣatta to snow? [2]
          • Finnic *niɣatos snow drift action result noun
            • Finnish nietos snow drift
      • Hellenic
        • Classical Greek νίφω níphō to snow, to rain
    • Proto-Indo-European *snéygʷʰeti (it) snows imperfective [1]
      • Pre-Germanic
        • Germanic *snīwaną to snow
          • North Germanic
            • Old Norse snjófa
              • Icelandic snjóa to snow
          • West Germanic
            • Old English snīwan to snow
              • English snew
            • Old High German snīwan
              • German schneien to snow
        • Finnic *niɣatta-
      • Indo-Iranian
        • Iranian
          • Avestan 𐬯𐬥𐬀𐬉𐬲𐬀𐬌𐬙𐬌 snaēžaiti (it) snows
    • Proto-Indo-European *sninégʷʰti (it) snows imperfective [1]
      • Italic
        • Latin ning(u)it it snows
          • Eastern Romance
            • Romanian a ninge to snow
            • Western Romance
              • Italian nigne to snow dialectic
    • Proto-Indo-European *snigʷʰyéti (it) snows imperfective [1]
      • Celtic *snigʷyeti to snow
        • Brythonic
          • Welsh nyfio to snow [3]
        • Old Irish snigid to drip, to drop, to flow
          • Irish snigh to pour down, to flow
      • Indo-Iranian
        • Indo-Aryan
          • Sanskrit 𑀲𑁆𑀦𑀺𑀳𑁆𑀬𑀢𑀺 snihyati to be adhesive, to stick, to remain [4]
    • Proto-Indo-European *snígʷʰs snow noun
      • Celtic
        • Old Irish snechtae snow
          • Irish sneachta snow
        • Brythonic
          • Welsh nyf snow [3]
      • Hellenic
        • Classical Greek νίφα nípha snow
      • Italic *sniks
        • Latin nix snow, white hair stem: niv-
          • Central Romance
            • Italian neve snow
          • Eastern Romance
            • Romanian nea snow
          • Insular Romance
            • Sardinian nii
          • Western Romance
            • Old French noif snow
            • Spanish nieve snow, ice cream
          • Vulgar Latin *nivō I snow
            • Sardinian niai to snow
            • Western Romance
              • Spanish nevar to snow
            • Western Romance *nivicāre to snow
              • French neiger to snow
                • French neige snow
              • Italian nevicare to snow
          • Latin nivātus snowy, snowed on
            • Western Romance
              • Spanish nevada snowy, snowstorm
                • Spanish Sierra Nevada place name: Snowy Mountain Range
                  • English Sierra Nevada
                    • English Nevada
      • Tocharian
        • Kushean *śiñce
          • Kushean śiñcatstse snowy
    • Proto-Indo-European *snóygʷʰos snow noun
      • Balto-Slavic *snaigas
        • East Baltic
          • Lithuanian sniẽgas snow
        • Slavic *sně̑gъ snow
          • East Slavic
            • Russian снег sneg snow
              • Russian Снегу́рочка Snegúročka Snow Maiden Aarne-Thompson #703
                • English Snegurochka
          • South Slavic
            • Serbo-Croatian сне̑ијг snijȇg snow
          • West Slavic
            • Polish śnieg snow
        • West Baltic
          • Old Prussian snaygis snow
      • Germanic *snaiwaz snow
        • East Germanic
          • Gothic 𐍃𐌽𐌰𐌹𐍅𐍃 snaiws snow
        • North Germanic
          • Old Norse snær
            • Danish sne snow
            • Icelandic snjór snow
        • West Germanic
          • Old English snāw snow
            • English snow
            • Scots snaw snow
          • Old High German snēo snow
            • German Schnee snow
            • Yiddish שניי shney snow
      • Indo-Iranian
        • Indo-Aryan
          • Sanskrit 𑀲𑁆𑀦𑁂𑀳 sneha oil, grease, viscidity, smoothness, tenderness, fondness, moisture, bodily fluid [4]
            • Gandhari Prakrit siṇeha snow [4]
            • Pali
              • Thai เสน่ห์ sà-nèe charm, enchantment, fascination [4]
            • Telugu స్నేహము snēhamu friendship [4]


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Collected English words

snew, Sierra Nevada, Nevada, Snegurochka, snow


  1. ^

    There seems to be quite a lot of divergence in late Proto-Indo-European dialects as to how form the imperfective (or, in older but less accurate terminology, "present") form of this verb; four different imperfective forms are reconstructed from different daughter languages:

    A) Simple thematic imperfective (*snigʷʰe-ti),

    B) "Narten"-style thematic imperfective (*snéygʷʰe-ti),

    C) A nasal infix imperfective (*sninégʷʰ-ti). This is morphology for forming an imperfective verb from a root with an inherent perfective aspect, you wouldn't normally expect to see that on the same root as simple imperfectives, which assume a root with an inherent imperfective aspect, and

    D) A yé-imperfective (*snigʷʰyé-ti), which forms intransitive and/or middle-voice imperfectives. Middle voice is when a subject cannot be simply categorized as either agent or patient, but has elements of each. This would be vaguely similar to English "it is snowing", which has referent-less placeholder subject, but an object that has elements of both patient and agent.

  2. ^

    For Finnish nietos: "snow drift", I'm following Pystynen: https://twitter.com/jlingpystynen/status/1533068996676919296

  3. ^

    A nyf/nyfio are rare words in Welsh. The usual Welsh word for snow is eira, descended from Celtic *argyos: "white" (compare Welsh arian and Latin argentum both meaning "silver").

    So the usual way to say "it is snowing" in Welsh is mae'n bwrw eira: "she is throwing white"!

  4. ^

    Strange, strange things happened to the word for "snow" in India.