Printable Version
Pronunciation: bli-zêrd Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. A blinding, windy, intense snowstorm. 2. A deluge of things coming at an intense pace.

Notes: Now that most of us are beyond the blizzard season, we can raise this word to the elite status of a Good Word. We wouldn't want to hex our Canadian or Scandinavian subscribers who were vulnerable to blizzards earlier. Several adjectives have presented themselves over the life of this word: blizzarding, blizzardly, even blizzardous, and the more obvious, blizzardy.

In Play: The usual sense of this word refers to an intense winter storm: "Coming home from work, Harvey Wallbanger got lost in a blizzard and ended up in a bar." However, the metaphorical sense just as often comes up in conversations: "The company's new president sent out a blizzard of tweets extolling himself."

Word History: The first thing we notice is what appears to be the pejorative nominal suffix -ard that we see on drunkard, dullard, and laggard. If we remove that suffix, we are left with blizz, a word that was actually used in the 18th century in Virginia in reference to a powerful rainstorm. Blizzard first appeared in print far from Virginia in the Northern Vindicator of Estherville, Iowa between 1860 and 1870. We have no idea where blizz came from. So, all we know for sure about blizzard is that it is an Americanism. All else is simply speculation. (Now let's regale Tony Bowden of London, England with a blizzard of our best wishes for suggesting today's mysterious American Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword,

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