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[ney-vey] /neɪˈveɪ/
granular snow accumulated on high mountains and subsequently compacted into glacial ice.
a field of such snow.
Also called firn, old snow.
1850-55; < Franco-Provençal < Vulgar Latin *nivātum, noun use of neuter of Latin nivātus snow-cooled, equivalent to niv- (stem of nix snow) + -ātus -ate1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for old snow
  • The bright sun was blinding as it sparkled off the day-old snow.
  • Snow boards are laid on top of old snow when there is any possibility of new snow falling.
  • The weight of the new snowfall also acts to compress the old snow beneath it.
  • old snow on the top of glaciers, granular and compact but not yet converted into ice.
  • Most of the northern half of the state was paralyzed due to blocked roads as new and old snow combined to drift across the roads.
  • The combined total of new snow, old snow, and ice at observation time is snow depth.
  • old snow on top of glaciers, granular and compact and not yet converted into ice.
  • If you measure all the snow on the ground, including old snow, this is not snowfall but rather snow depth.
British Dictionary definitions for old snow


Also called firn. a mass of porous ice, formed from snow, that has not yet become frozen into glacier ice
a snowfield at the head of a glacier that becomes transformed into ice
Word Origin
C19: from Swiss French névé glacier, from Late Latin nivātus snow-cooled, from nix snow
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for old snow



"field of granular snow, firn," 1843, from French névé (19c.), probably from Savoyard névi "mass of snow," from Latin nivem (nominative nix) "snow" (cf. French neige), from PIE root *sneigwh- "snow, to snow" (see snow (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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old snow in Science
  1. The upper part of a glacier, consisting of hardened snow.

  2. The granular snow typically found in such a field.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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