Word of the Day: Lapovita

Here in Romania as we head from autumn to true winter, we reach the gap where cold, freezing rain slowly but surely turns into snow.

Just the other day, I heard someone use the word lapovita (lop oh-veet-za) and I knew I had to write about it on the blog.

In Romanian, this word specifically refers to when it is simultaneously raining and snowing at the same time. Although it has no etymological connection, the fact that lapte (milk) and lapovita sound similar is a useful way to remember this word – after all, when it does rain/snow at the same time, the results are often quite “milky” looking.

The word itself is borrowed from a Slavic word, lapavica, similar to the word bluzhgavita (also written: бљузгавица), which in English would be “slush” or “half-melted snow” and generally refers to the precipitation’s condition when it’s already on the ground.

In Romanian, meanwhile, it only refers to the precipitation as it is falling. Only when it’s coming down from the sky is it lapovita, similar to the English “sleeting”. When it’s on the ground, it’s something else.

Similarly, in Romanian the verb ninge (from the Latin, see nieve in Spanish and neve in Italian) only refers to snow when it is falling from the sky.

As soon as it lands on the ground however, in Romanian it becomes zapada (from the Slavic).

Therefore: A nins si zapada acopera orasul is how you say “It snowed and the snow covers the city”.


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