It appears that MSN Weather has chosen an amusing adjective (from my British point of view) for the weather today:


I'm assuming the precipitation (sadly) won't contain any hundreds-and-thousands. To a British person, what is this equivalent to: drizzle, mizzle or deluge?

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    What are "hundreds-and-thousands"? Nov 29, 2011 at 17:46
  • First time I've seen it too. I suppose it's what our meteos call spits and spots. Nov 29, 2011 at 17:48
  • Hundreds-and-thousands are a sweet. Think sprinkles on a cupcake.
    – MetaEd
    Nov 29, 2011 at 18:06
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    Hundreds-and-thousands aren't really "a sweet". They're what Brits call the cake topping @Dusty linked to. In the UK, sprinkles are usually salad sprinkles (toasted seeds, bacon-flavoured crumbs, etc.) scattered on/in green salad. Nov 29, 2011 at 22:13
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    @Fumble: In London, I only come across sprinkles at an ice-cream van, where they are hundreds-and-thousands or something similar.
    – Henry
    Nov 29, 2011 at 22:59

1 Answer 1


Use of sprinkle to describe a light fall of rain is fine in both varieties. Sprinkling is also used in AmE.

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    More than a drizzle, less than light rain. Nov 29, 2011 at 20:00
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    Never heard that before (anywhere). I speak AmE. Sounds vaguely...wrong.
    – Mitch
    Nov 29, 2011 at 20:21
  • I speak AmE, and have definitely heard the verb (i.e., it's sprinkling). The noun sounds less familiar. Jan 28, 2012 at 12:42
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    I have heard it quite a bit in Southern California, but not on the East Coast. My theory is that Californians are more accustomed to having yard sprinklers (year-round), and have a sense of their output (which I would define the same as @MonicaCellio ), whereas those in the damp East do not.
    – choster
    Jan 28, 2012 at 16:55
  • @choster I think you could be right about the garden sprinkler, but in my experience a sprinkler delivers at least as much water as a light shower. Do you think it possible that the term 'a sprinkle of rain' predates the garden sprinkler and that the device is named from the natural event?
    – BoldBen
    Aug 6, 2018 at 6:37

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