I live in the Northeastern part of the US. We've had a lot of snow recently. Part of living in a snowy area is clearing the collected snow pack from the wheel well so that it doesn't interfere with driving. The snow is usually filthy and ice-coated from where the tires have kicked crud up from the road surface.

We call these snow goblins and most people make it a habit to kick off the snow goblins before setting out in the car.

It's a common expression around here, but I'm wondering how far it extends regionally. Do most snow-experiencing regions in the US and Canada have snow goblins? Or are they called something else?

And I'm not asking what snow goblins are called, because they are called snow goblins, so the "duplicate" doesn't have an answer for me.


8 Answers 8


We do have snow goblins here in PA (also the Northwest)

However, we consider them goblins because they jump your car, not after they do so.

snow goblins

This is them before they jump your car.

  • 2
    I really like this lol
    – Josh
    Commented Dec 18, 2013 at 21:56
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    This isn't actually answering the question...
    – MrHen
    Commented Dec 18, 2013 at 22:18
  • 4
    @MrHen - as you've edited jokes out of my posts before, feel free to flag. It will go soon enough, and until then, some people may smile because of it. Commented Dec 18, 2013 at 22:23
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    StackExchange. Where we hate fun.
    – Luke_0
    Commented Dec 18, 2013 at 22:34
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    @MrHen OMG! Someone on the internet didn't follow the rules!
    – Josh
    Commented Dec 19, 2013 at 16:32

I'll provide an answer from the Midwest.

We do not have a word for this (not that I am aware of).

It's not one word, but if I had to describe it to people around these parts, I would simply say "snow between the tire and wheel well."

  • Concur, originally from IN (15 years), then lived for 6 years in Chicago, I've never heard this word.
    – virmaior
    Commented Jan 2, 2014 at 5:40

Apparently, snow goblins have long been a perennial problem stretching to the very North Pole itself, which some have posited may be their ultimate origin. You can see them in full havocking mayhem in the top half of this familiar illustration:

The North Polar Bear does battle with the Snow Goblins

That illustration was created by an eldritch enthnographer of great renown. In the cited source we learn that. . . .

Apparently, Father Christmas has been at war with the Goblins for centuries. In 1932, the North Polar Bear stumbles into one of their deserted underground caves, the walls covered with paintings, some by goblins, some by men. Soon, sensitive to the smell of Goblins, the North Polar Bear uncovers a system of tunnels that lead in to the kitchen of Father Christmas’s old house. Father Christmas thought the goblins were taken care of after the trouble they caused in 1453, but with evidence of at least one hundred years of activity, Father Christmas knows he must take action. He smokes the Goblins out into the hands of the Red Gnomes who chase them out of the land. The threat has passed, although Father Christmas believes “they will crop up again in a century or so.”

A century from when that was written would be 2032, so apparently they’ve cropped again even sooner than predicted. Indeed, I believe there was a major incursion of these boreal Goblins back around the time of the Second World War, when they were again driven back into their ice-caverns, there to brood and breed.

It does sound like you’re having a major irruptive event right now there where you are. Best of luck with that.

  • How is this answering the question?
    – MrHen
    Commented Feb 24, 2014 at 16:09
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    @MrHen It does describe the term being used in regions distant from the OP. It does, admittedly, also contain some irrelevant tangential information, but that's true of many answers on every SE site.
    – user867
    Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 22:49

Given the answers and comments here, combined with the answers on Mr. Hen's related question, I concluded that snow goblins is not in common usage in most of the English-speaking world.

To confirm that it was not in fact simply my own personal idiolect, I conducted a survey of Mainers living in the state as well as out-of-state via Facebook, asking the question "What is a snow goblin?" Most of the Mainers who were sampled knew the answer without prompting.

Therefore, I assert that snow goblin is primarily used amongst Mainers, and is not commonly recognized even by other New Englanders.

  • 2
    Good answer. I think this is what the OP was after.
    – Hugo
    Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 22:17
  • @Hugo - what a hilariously appropriate comment! Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 23:04

I've lived in Oklahoma and Pennsylvania and have never heard that term before. (Also New Orleans and Florida, but they don't really experience that much snow).

I think I've heard them called fenderbergs

  • What a great name! It's just so apt! Commented Dec 21, 2013 at 6:21

I live in Oregon, and have a significant amount of family in Washington. I've never heard the expression; I don't believe that we have a word/expression for the occurrence.


I live in the Northeastern US and I’ve never heard this term before.

  • Hi, laurai. Welcome to ELU! Commented Dec 21, 2013 at 6:19

When I visited Minnesota, they were referred to as "crudsicles". I do not know if the spelling was "crudsicle" or "crudcicle". I assume that the word was derived from "crud" + "icicle", not "crud" + "cycle".

  • 1
    It is almost certainly a combo of "crud" and "Popsicle".
    – Hot Licks
    Commented May 19, 2019 at 0:49

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