Sunday, January 20, 2013


The Dutch weather service was warning of 'motsneeuw' yesterday, reminding me that this country has more words for its weather than the eskimos have for snow.

The longest part of any Dutch news broadcast is the weather report, 10 solid minutes or so. They put it last because it's the most interesting part. Certainly the only part with any practical usefulness.

So back to motsneeuw.

I guess it's a real word, drawn by analogy from the word "motregen." Motregen is like that kind of rain that's so weak and pathetic that it doesn't qualify as rain. However, it is strong enough that if you have go to the store and back in motregen, you will come back soaking wet.

I guess in English we might say motregen is a "heavy mist." Fog won't get you wet, mist won't get you wet either, but a heavy mist just might.

I see Wikipedia calls motregen 'drizzle,' but I think that's wrong, because a drizzle is definitely a kind of light rain, and motregen doesn't quite rise to the level of rain.

Motsneeuw. A kind of misty snow so light that you might not notice it, except it makes it difficult to breathe and tears your face to shreds if you try to bike through it.

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I use this space as a brain dump, almost a note pad.
Lots of English translations of Dutch information, especially if I think something could also be useful for others. For speed I start with Google translate and then put on finishing touches myself.
*Use at your own risk.*