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Looking for a word accurately describing the sound of wet snow flakes (slowly) falling on snow? Here is an audio sample of a variation thereof(sound system warning: start with low gain or use headphones). Note this doesn't exhibit the same properties as sleet or small ice pellets falling, which is dryer and shorter a sound. I'm trying to make a sentence such as I'm listening to the ...ing sound of the snow falling... An adjective would also work.

  • 1
    It's pretty quiet. I think using 'quiet' would work. Or 'silence of the falling snow'. Or ''. – Mitch Dec 10 '14 at 22:41
  • What about a "hard-whispering-liquid laughter?" – Patrick T. Randolph Dec 10 '14 at 23:27
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    As a casual reader, I simply enjoyed reading the description... I'm listening to the sound of wet snow flakes falling slowly on snow It is very vivid – PeonProgrammer Dec 11 '14 at 1:09
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    "Wet" snow flake: theweatherprediction.com/habyhints/232 – ermanen Dec 11 '14 at 1:37
  • Wet is surely quite idiomatic in itself... I can see the "value". Thanks all! – user98955 Dec 11 '14 at 10:10

10 Answers 10

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Based on the audio sample, a few words jump to mind:

pattering

This is often used with raindrops, especially the slow sound of rain on the rooftop. You might also try pitter-pattering.

crunching

I'm not sure if it's just the audio sample, but it sounds very crunchy to me.

crackling

See my thoughts on crunching above. Also, like Rice Crispies: snap, crackle, pop.

settle

"...the sound of the snow as it settles on the ground."

  • +1 The clip sounds very similar to the crackling of wood on a fire. – Erik Kowal Dec 11 '14 at 10:02
  • Thank you! I'll select this answer for its focus on descriptive terms relating to the beat of the snow, crackling and something hinting at alternation i.e. pitter-pattering. What I found also insightful by contrast is how the wet property is little rendered in the As; the idea of voice is used i.e. whisper etc. Going into this I had crackling/smooching in mind plus cliquetis/clapotis(fr, the former can be render the "metallic" noise of armor softly - one answer alludes to tinkling for instance - the latter has that watery element which has been little rendered here overall). – user98955 Dec 11 '14 at 23:03
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I listened to the audio clip and was quite surprised... hearing that without the context I never would have guessed it was snow.

Still, if you are game for personification, then I have three suggestions:

I'm listening to the whispering sound of the snow falling.

I'm listening to the murmur of falling snow.

I'm listening to the sigh of falling snow.

These three words evoke the quietude implied in the very act of listening to the snow fall.

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    When I was 14 I wrote some verse that spoke of the whispering wetness falling. . . . It isn’t worth presenting, but it stands that I think whisper good for this. – tchrist Dec 11 '14 at 2:17
  • I very much like murmuring for this. "I stand by the window, listening to the soft murmuring of the snow as it falls" ... – user3334690 Dec 11 '14 at 17:02
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How about "susurration" or, better yet, "susurrus"?

Susurration: a soft, whispering or rustling sound; a murmur.
Susurrus: a soft murmuring or rustling sound; whisper. - TFD

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    Welcome to English Language & Usage @Brandon. Your post would be improved if it included a reference, and explained the merits of your suggestion. – andy256 Dec 11 '14 at 6:21
  • +1 - great word, evocative... I wonder if it was onomatopoetic in the original Latin. – anongoodnurse Dec 12 '14 at 7:20
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The late lamented Harry Harrison coined a phrase for this in Bill, the Galactic Hero, in a rousing chorus sung by the deplanned (those who have lost their street plans):-

Stand together One and All

For Brothers Deplanned always shall

Unite and Fight to achieve the Right

That Might shall fail and Truth avail

So that we

who once were free

can someday be

Once more free to see the skies of blue Above

And hear the gentle pitty-pat

Of snow.

  • The NED has it at pit-a-pat: echoic, expressing alternating sounds; an imitation of the repeated or alternating sound made by a strong beating or palpitation of the heart in excitement or emotion; also of that of light or rapid footsteps, or of similar or alternating or reiterated sounds. Nice find! Thank you. – user98955 Dec 11 '14 at 14:18
1

I think crackling best describes the noise from the audio sample:

  • short, dry, sharp sounds made by something:

    • We could hear the crackling of a fire.

or tinkling:

  • light metallic sounds, as those of a small bell.

( from TFD)

  • Someone already used crackling. Tinkling makes absolutely no sense. – RyeɃreḁd Dec 11 '14 at 6:45
  • @RyeɃreḁd - we posted the answer together..anyway it is so nice to hear from you Rye..from time to time!:)) – user66974 Dec 11 '14 at 7:06
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The title implies that more than one word may be acceptable... If so, I'd be tempted to go for crackling (as suggested already) but with a modifier in front that suggests the lighter snow qualities.

How about either:

Gentle crackling

Ethereal crackling

The former is more ordinary. The latter may not be to all tastes, but seems to me more in line with the delicate nature of the sound.

0

I'll contribute quiet smooching/smouching(kissing), lapping(tongue in water), plashing(strike the surface of water) and swashing/swashy(sloppy, watery). Organic undertones clash a bit with the scene whereas the water effects lack a bit in terms of showing off the slushy element.

  • How about:"The "soft slush" sounds of falling snow"? The OED in your link has slush-slush and slushy splashy too. – Mari-Lou A Dec 12 '14 at 10:45
  • @Mari-LouA Thank you, that could work too! But somehow, fire and water may be antinomic in the descriptive sense. Or an arbitrary choice is made to focus on the impact sound of the flake as opposed other properties; or such other properties are assimilated to voice. It seems in a way nothing beats wet which is very idiomatic in context. Most of the answers I provide contain those s/sh sounds; I'm not a native speaker, I'm concerned these sound like a "snake" lol or wind. It is all interesting, especially this pragmatic focus on the idiomatical constructs. Ty. – user98955 Dec 12 '14 at 11:20
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    Snake-like sounds would contain the suffix -iss, typically hissing, or perhaps swishing, as in "a snake swishes its tail". – Mari-Lou A Dec 12 '14 at 11:27
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Abstractive words:

  • Diffusing.
  • Effusing. Spreading out loosely.
  • Affusing.

Explanative words:

  • Scattering.
  • Sploshing. Scattering liquid.
  • Dispersing. Vanish or disappear.
  • Dissipating.
  • Frittering. The sound of boiling oil.
  • Dissolving.

Positive emotions may increase the atmosphere also:

  • Amusing.
  • Pleasing.
  • Arousing.
  • Satisfying.

It's possible to increase the value of ..ing word for example:

I'm listening to the constant ...ing sound of the snow falling.

I'm listening to the deep ...ing sound of the snow falling.

I'm listening to the endless ...ing sound of the snow falling.

I'm listening to the perpetual ...ing sound of the snow falling.

I'm listening to the incessant ...ing sound of the snow falling.

I'm listening to the continuous ...ing sound of the snow falling.

0

The hush of falling snow captures it for me.

-1

What about a "gentle-harsh-whispering-liquid laughter?" This is not just a single adjective, as requested, but it gives the "feel" of what you want.

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    This doesn't seem to meet the OP request for a single word or a word ending in -ing. It doesn't seem nice, either, Unless you fly into an auditory-irritant-induced fit of adjective slinging whenever snow falls gently in your presence. – anongoodnurse Dec 10 '14 at 23:48

protected by Community Dec 11 '14 at 18:52

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