Word of the Day

snjókerling (n)

“snow woman”

Yes, thats right, Icelandic has a word for both genders of a snow figure. The combination here is “snjó” (snow) and “kerling” (old woman). Snowman is “snjókarl,” with “karl” meaning man. I came across a few articles on Icelandic news websites about snow women being as important as snowmen in children’s winter affairs. A righteous state of equality, if I do say so myself.

The interesting thing here is not the words themselves, but rather what search engines brought up when I searched for them. I stumbled upon a christmas song that may sound a little familiar to you, called Snæfinnur Snjókarl:

Don’t let rhythms deceive you, because these lyrics are actually nothing like the American version. And “Snæfinnur” doesn’t actually mean frosty. This isn’t any sort of traditional name, but seems like the name of the snowman that translates to something like “snow wanderer.”

Just to compare the first line of the lyrics, the original “frosty the snowman was a jolly happy soul” ends up as “Snæfinnur snowman had a frayed top hat.” So as you can see, Snæfinnur snjókarl isn’t exactly the twin of Frosty. But the upbeat essence of the song still remains the same.

Here is a link for the full lyrics in Icelandic.

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