Sunday, April 5, 2009

Word of the Week: April 5 - April 11 : Silver Thaw (aka glitter)

silver thaw

Definition according to the Dictionary of Newfoundland English:

silver thaw n OED silver sb 21 ~ thaw (Nfld: 1860-); DC Atlantic Prov, B C 1, 2 (Nfld: 1770-; 1842-); SMYTH 626 'term for ice falling in large flakes from the sails and rigging, consequent on a frost followed suddenly by a thaw.' See also GLITTER, SILVER FROST.

1 A condition of the weather in which freezing rain deposits a coating of ice on exposed objects; the gradual deposit of ice on countryside, trees, etc, during a freezing rain.

[1770] 1792 CARTWRIGHT i, 73 There was a silver thaw in the morning, and it rained freely; very mild weather all the rest of the day. 1792 ibid Gloss i, xv ~ When it rains and freezes at the same time.

[1822] 1928 CORMACK 83 While in this situation a silver thaw sometimes comes on, and the incrustation of the surface becomes too thick.

1893 Trade Review Christmas No 13 There is a tradition that our ancestors, who flocked to this country in such numbers in the beginning of the century, were induced to emigrate by the prospect of becoming immensely rich in a short time, by simply gathering money after a 'silver thaw.' It is very probable that this witticism originated in the humorous imagination of some droll Irishman when describing the country to his newly-arrived and uninitiated fellow-countrymen.

1897 J A Folklore x, 206 Glitter [is] used on the west coast to denote that peculiar phenomenon known generally through the northern part of America as 'a silver thaw'; that is, when fine rain failing meets near the earth a colder stratum of air and becomes congealed, forming a covering of ice upon every object.

1949 Evening Telegram 26 Feb, p. 3 Last night's silver thaw created slippery conditions and havoc in the pedestrian ranks this morning as early walkers skidded, slithered and went up-ended on their way to work. T 368/9-67 An' we had the silver thaw for a week from the first day we arrived.

2 The coating of ice deposited on exposed objects by freezing rain; in some contexts overlapping with sense 1.

1836 [WIX]1 20 The country at this time presented an appearance quite different from that produced by the vegetation when affected by a moistness of the atmosphere which is afterwards operated upon by sudden frosts, and is improperly denominated here, a silver thaw.

1840 GOSSE 21 In Newfoundland it is by no means rare, where it is known by the name of 'silver thaw.' It is caused by rain descending when the stratum of air nearest the earth is below the temperature of 32, and consequently freezing the instant it touches any object; the ice accumulates with every drop, until a thick transparent coating is formed.

1842 BONNYCASTLE i, 338 Another phenomenon, seldom seen in Canada, is the silver thaw, as it is called in Newfoundland. Rain in heavy torrents in February, accompanied by a low state of the thermometer near the earth, causes a regular deposition of ice round all the branches and twigs of the plants and trees.

1846 TOCQUE 101 'Silver thaw'. . is produced by a shower of rain falling during a frost, and freezing the instant it comes in contact with any object.

[1894 BURKE] 21 'Don't be picking up the scattered ones [shillings found among the silver thaw],' cried one of them [hard cases]; 'wait till you get on Water Street, in the thick of them.'

1903 HOWLEY 55 ~ This is the name given by Newfoundlanders to that brilliant ice-garment with which the trees, houses, bushes, etc., are clothed when the Spring showers are frozen in the act of falling.

1919 GRENFELL1 201 Wind and t' weight of t' silver thaw.

1939 DULEY 30 It had rained in the night, frozen lightly in the morning, leaving a magical silver thaw. Enchanted, dazzling, glittering, the village stood covered in a cellophane coating of ice. C 68-16 [He] used to tell me the following story. When the first Irish immigrants came to Newfoundland they came expecting to find silver growing on trees... When they came however the silver on the trees was nothing more than silver thaw, an ice coating which covers the trees when the temperature suddenly falls on a country-side which is covered with a dense fog.

1970 Evening Telegram 11 May, p. 3 A mild winter it was here on the east coast with next to no snow but a lot of glitter and silver thaw around March.

Now, we invite you to RELiVE, REMEMBER and REFRESH iT and/or even REDEFiNE iT!The main thing is to RELiSH iT.

Now, we invite you to RELiVE, REMEMBER and REFRESH iT and/or even REDEFiNE iT!The main thing is to RELiSH iT.

We also post the word of the week on our sister facebook group each week where we post the word to the group's members each week.

The word of the week is brought to you each week by Rattling Books, a "so small we're fine" Canadian audiobook publisher operating from its global headquarters atop a tor on the coast of Newfoundland and first released each Sunday morning on the CBC Radio program the Weekend Arts Magazine with Angela Antle.

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