What do you call a single drop of sleet?

Dippin’ Dots most closely resemble what people where I live (Montana) call graupel:

Graupel is snowflakes with frost stuck to them. Most graupel pellets are roundish and definitely pellety in nature; the Wikipedia article shows six-pointed-star graupel pellets, but those are rare.

Anyway: Graupel is translucent white pellets, formed from frost adhering to snowflakes. Ice pellets are pellets made of ice, and are clear little balls. Hail is made of hailstones, which are larger balls or irregularly-shaped clumps of ice. I’d consider sleet to be rain and snow mixed, but I think wintry mix is more commonly used by weather forecasters around here.

Ice pellets are called “hail”.

I personally like Sleetling…

I thought sleet was plural and slut is the singular.
Conjugated slut - sleet - slat

Sleet is composed of pellets.

Hail is composed of hailstones.

I agree with both of these comments. Sleet is a wet mixture of rain and snow and perhaps ice pellets. It typically occurs right around the freezing point.

Another (ex) PNW poster here.

Sleet is absolutely, positively completely frozen pellets in that part of the world. Nothing wet about them.

Checking Wikipedia shows that this is the term used by the US Weather Service. But the “wet” version is used in some Commonwealth countries.


Maybe it’s like deer or sheep; the same word is used for both the singular and the plural.

Goose -> geese
Sloot -> sleet

The things I learn here…

The center of every hailstone is a tiny pellet of sleet. Sleet is the frozen bit of water in a cloud which in the vast majority of cases warms as it falls,melting into a raindrop.

In the case of hail, it has been tossed up and down in currents collecting a series of layers making it larger and larger until gravity finally overcomes the strength of the storm current and it falls to the ground.


I guess I’d call it a drop of sleet because “pellet” seems to glorified for me. Sleet to me seems to be a mixture of snow and rain, but all in a single droplet rather than a mixture of both of them falling at once. To me it looks like snow but falls like rain and is sort of in between the two in wetness.

Sleet, per US Weather Service terminology, is not wet. It is hard frozen.

There are a lot of forms of snow (which mostly lack single words).

I don’t know of any term for a really wet partially melted snowflake other than just “wet snow”. But ones that have melted a bit and then refroze on the way down are “popcorn snow”. Hard but containing a lot of air so they are easily crunched. Sleet is solid all the way thru.

Damnit, where’s an Eskimo when you need one!

I’d call it a real piece of sleet.

IIRC the Inuits etc spoke polysynthetic languages that assembled meaningful phonemes into complex “words”. A five-syllable “word” could mean “when Uncle Jan missed his seventh hole putt Tuesday”. Just so, the “10,000 words for snow” trope sees combos equivalent to multi-word English phrases like “precipitation with X% moisture content”. Say that phrase real fast and it’ll sound like one long word. Cf Flutes of Fire.

This, except that I live in the US, in the northeast.

Well, I guess I learned something new today. When we have a mixture of rain and snow, I describe it as “slush”. As in, “oh ick, it’s slushing now.” But that’s just me, locally that would be called sleet. So would wet pellets. For that matter, any mixture of wet and frozen is “sleet” in my dialect.

On the rare occasions when we get dry pellets I would probably call it hail, although I know it’s not technically hail, which needs to have layers. Or just ice. “Hey, it’s iciing outside. I wonder if there’s any real hail, or if it’s just droplets of ice?”

Yeah, and I once found a list of a lot of those eskimo words for snow, and I had single or compound words for most of them. Like “powder” and “corn snow” and “sleet”. The only one I didn’t have a succinct way of describing was “the hole on the south side of a tree where the snow melted from the warmth of the tree trunk in the sun” Which is a concept I’m familiar with, but didn’t have a word for.

So, for those for whom sleet is wet, what do you call it when you have those tiny dry pellets that are smaller than hail? As stated, no larger than a dipping dot? Do you just call all of it hail? If so, do you have a way to distinguish the kind of hail that is so big it causes a lot of damage?

Both dry dots of ice and hail are rare where I live. So I guess it’s not critical to have a name for it. I would call it “not quite hail”, or “drops of ice”. I’m trying to think if I’ve ever seen it actually dry…

I’ve only seen hail a handful of times, and never hail big enough to be really dangerous. What causes damage here is heavy wet snow that brings down trees and branches. A big branch landing on your car can total it. I know a couple of people who’ve lost cars that way.