- A grayish-white crystalline deposit of frozen water vapor formed in clear still weather on vegetation, fences, etc.
“On cold mornings, the hoarfrost coats everything in a sheen of ice crystals.”
“His job in the winter is to clear the chicken coop of hoarfrost every morning.”
“The hoarfrost quickly melts after the sun comes up, but it usually stays freezing until noon.”
English, 13th century
Why this word?
Hoarfrost is the light covering of white that forms when dew freezes. The word “hoar” comes from a Middle English term that means “gray or old.” The inspiration for “hoarfrost” came from the appearance of trees and bushes covered in frost that looks like white hair. While it’s most often seen outside on cold mornings, it can occur in any situation where there’s excess moisture that quickly freezes, such as in a freezer.
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