4

Looking for a translation for "hail" in Japanese, I stumbled upon two possible words with a peculiar distinction being made on the size of the hail balls:

  • [雹]{ひょう} (esp. hail balls 5mm or greater)
  • [霰]{あられ} (esp. hail balls under 5 mm)

Is this distinction really being made, or is one of these two words (almost) never used ? Could you maybe provide me with some examples if there are some additional subtleties.

1
  • @A.Ellett The story is false. It's like saying there are over 3 ways to express fun in Japanese: 楽しい 楽しそう 楽しさ etc. They have their differences. Source: en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eskimo_words_for_snow
    – binom
    Jul 16 '17 at 9:29
6

雹 [ひょう] (esp. hail balls 5mm or greater)
霰 [あられ] (esp. hail balls under 5 mm)
Is this distinction really being made, or is one of these two words (almost) never used ? Could you maybe provide me with some examples if there are some additional subtleties.

The size of the frozen substance from the sky, we don't know, but I think we've been differentiating them by how strong they are, and how the word sounds like; 霰{あられ} sounds lighter like the cute tiny baked riceballs for snacking, and 雹{ひょう} sounds stronger to us in some reason.

But when an established dictionary defines something, we can expect it to have been officially defined by somewhere has the authority.

There's also 霙{みぞれ}, and it's said that it's a mixture of rain and snow. I relate it with shaved ice with sweet syrup, and these applications of the word are both so true to me that I wonder which use came to the world first.

2
  • 1
    Maybe it's just me, but the 砲 in [砲弾]{ほう・だん} ("cannonball", "shell", "artillery") is similar to 雹, so it evokes a larger, heavier image as you say.
    – istrasci
    Jul 15 '17 at 18:02
  • @istrasci That's interesting. :) You know what? I always tend to associate it with leopards, the word for them is 豹{ひょう}. I find it's like "cat's and dogs" in English. :D
    – karlalou
    Jul 15 '17 at 18:16

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.