I'm looking for a phrase to describe the kind of water vapour rising from the surface of a river in the morning. It doesn't have to be a single word but I wouldn't be surprised if there is one.

what I'm trying to describe

what I'm trying to describe

I'd call it mist or fog but, as far as I know, these could refer to something much thicker (particularly fog).

As the sun climbed higher above the horizon, _________ rose from the surface of the river, enveloping the reeds.

Fume also comes to mind but it seems to have negative connotations.

  • Mist is said to rise, yes. Fog isn't said to rise and there is a very famous poem about fog: Carl Sandburg: The fog comes/ on little cat feet. It sits looking/ over harbor and city/ on silent haunches/and then moves on. You can create your own image. There are many verbs you might use: drifted up, lifted up, come to mind. – Lambie Jan 13 '18 at 15:26
  • @toniedzwiedz Lovely pictures. I have some similar taken just beyond my home, where the River Severn rolls past. – Nigel J Jan 13 '18 at 17:47
  • @1006a, thanks for linking to that question. I've had a look at those answers but I feel the ones provided here fit my use case better. Wisps of mist seems like the perfect description of the shape and intensity I was thinking about. Jim's answer covers a range of water-related terms which was my other focus here. – toniedzwiedz Jan 13 '18 at 18:09
  • How about "Vape" as in the trending vapour cigarettes? – Rudirod Jan 13 '18 at 18:23
  • You might want to make a quick edit to your question to clarify that you are more interested in a descriptive phrase, rather than a technical term, just in case anyone else looks and thinks they're the same question. – 1006a Jan 13 '18 at 18:35

There are a number of references to 'wisps of mist' in poetry and literature.

wisps of mist float across the secluded horizon

A Dairy Farmer's Daughter

curling wisps of mist were blowing through the top branches of the trees

The Guide of Rhodes Castle


According to Mother Nature Network

The phenomenon goes by many names, including steam fog, evaporation fog, frost smoke and sea smoke

These terms are probably not poetic enough for your use, and I tend to like some sort of "mist rising from the lake" but beyond the technical names for this the question becomes "Primarily Opinion Based" and off-topic.

  • 1
    I'm not necessarily looking to a poetic name. – toniedzwiedz Jan 13 '18 at 16:22

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