19 Old Cold Weather Words to Get You Through Winter

iStock.com/MarianVejcik
iStock.com/MarianVejcik

There are only so many ways to say “it’s cold outside,” and at this point in the winter, you may have exhausted all of them. Which is why it’s time to supplement your vocabulary with these vintage gems. They may technically be old, but to you, they’ll feel as new as a layer of freshly fallen snow.

1. ICE-LEGS

If sea-legs are a person’s ability to walk safely around a ship at sea, then ice-legs are the wintertime equivalent: It’s the ability to walk or skate on ice without falling over.

2. CRULE

To crule can mean to shiver with cold—or to crouch by a fire to warm up.

3. MEGGLE

Meggle is an old Scots word meaning "to trudge laboriously through mud or snow."

4. AQUABOB

An 18th-century word for an icicle. Also called ice-shoggles, ice-candles, or ice-shackles. A drop of water from an icicle is an icelet or a meldrop.

5. SNOW-BONES

They’re the lines of snow or ice left at the sides of roads after the rest of the snow has melted. Which will probably be around June.

6. MOBLE

To moble is to wrap up your head with a hood. More loosely, it’s used to mean to wear layers of clothes to keep warm.

7. MUFFLEMENTS

An old Lancashire dialect word for thick, warm, insulating clothes. (In other words, you might "moble your mufflements.")

8. HAPWARM

Hap is an old Yorkshire word for a heavy fall of snow, and likewise, hapwarm is an 18th-century dialect word for a heavy, all-covering item of clothing, worn to keep in the heat and keep out the cold.

9. HOGAMADOG

When you roll a snowball through a field of snow and it slowly gets bigger and bigger? That’s a hogamadog. (A regular old snowball can also be a winter apple.)

10. MOORKAVIE

Probably derived from an old Norse word, kave, meaning “a heavy snowfall or shower of rain,” moorkaavie is a Scots dialect word for a blinding snowstorm. The moor part is thought to be an old word for a crowd or swarm.

11. LAYING-WEATHER

An 18th-century expression for any weather condition in which snow lies on the ground.

12. SNOW-BLOSSOM

Spangle, flauchten, and snow-blossom are all old words for snowflakes …

13. CLART

… while a single flake of snow large enough to stick to your clothes is a clart.

14. PECK-OF-APPLES

An old English dialect nickname for a slip or fall on ice.

15. RONE

Rone (also called ronnie) is an old Scots word for a sheet or patch of ice that children use to slide on.

16. PUNDER

When the wind blows the snow off or away from something, that’s pundering.

17. ICE-BOLT

As well as being another name for an avalanche, the word ice-bolt was coined in the late 1700s for a sudden sharp feeling of the cold.

18. SNOW-BROTH

A 17th-century word for the water released by melting snow.

19. SHURL

When all the snow slides off a roof after it begins to thaw, that’s a shurl.

A version of this list first ran in 2016.

Guess the Places These Foods Were Named After

What's the Difference Between a Rabbit and a Hare?

iStock.com/Carmen Romero
iStock.com/Carmen Romero

Hippity, hoppity, Easter's on its way—and so is the eponymous Easter bunny. But aside from being a magical, candy-carrying creature, what exactly is Peter Cottontail: bunny, rabbit, or hare? Or are they all just synonyms for the same adorable animal?

In case you've been getting your fluffy, long-eared mammals mixed up, we've traveled down the rabbit hole to set the record straight. Although rabbits and hares belong to the same grass-munching family—called Leporidae—they're entirely different species with unique characteristics. It would be like comparing sheep and goats, geneticist Steven Lukefahr of Texas A&M University told National Geographic.

If you aren't sure which animal has been hopping around and helping themselves to the goodies in your vegetable garden, take a closer look at their ears. In general, hares have longer ears and larger bodies than rabbits. Rabbits also tend to be more social creatures, while hares prefer to keep to themselves.

As for the baby animals, they go by different names as well. Baby hares are called leverets, while newborn rabbits are called kittens or kits. So where exactly do bunnies fit into this narrative? Originally, the word bunny was used as a term of endearment for a young girl, but its meaning has evolved over time. Bunny is now a cutesy, childlike way to refer to both rabbits and hares—although it's more commonly associated with rabbits these days. With that said, the Easter bunny is usually depicted as a rabbit, but the tradition is thought to have originated with German immigrants who brought their legend of an egg-laying hare called "Osterhase" to America.

In other ambiguous animal news, the case of Bugs Bunny is a little more complicated. According to scientist and YouTuber Nick Uhas, the character's long ears, fast speed, and solitary nature seem to suggest he's a hare. However, in the cartoon, Bugs is shown burrowing underground, which doesn't jive with the fact that hares—unlike most rabbits—live aboveground. "We can draw the conclusion that Bugs may be a rabbit with hare-like behavior or a hare with rabbit nesting habits," Uhas says.

The conversation gets even more confusing when you throw jackrabbits into the mix, which aren't actually rabbits at all. Jackrabbits are various species of large hare that are native to western North America; the name itself is a shortened version of "jackass rabbit," which refers to the fact that the animal's ears look a little like a donkey's.

A jackrabbit
Connor Mah, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

As Mark Twain once famously wrote about the creature, "He is just like any other rabbit, except that he is from one-third to twice as large, has longer legs in proportion to his size, and has the most preposterous ears that ever were mounted on any creature but the jackass." (Fun fact: Black-tailed jackrabbits' extra-long ears actually help them stay cool in the desert. The blood vessels in their ears enlarge when it gets hot, causing blood to flow to their ears and ridding their bodies of excess heat.)

Rabbits, hares, and jackrabbits all have one thing in common, though: They love a good salad. So if you happen across one of these hopping creatures, give them some grass or weeds—and skip the carrots. Bugs Bunny may have loved the orange vegetable, but most hares and rabbits would prefer leafy greens.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, send it to bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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