Subject: Re: Freezer Blankets
Date: 4/27/2005 12:24:56 PM (GMT-7)
IP Address: 220.127.116.11
In Reply to: Re: Freezer Blankets posted by
Your etymological queries answered
"frozen rain," O.E. hægl, hagol, from W.Gmc. *haglaz (cf. O.H.G. hagal, O.N. hagl, Ger. hagel "hail"), probably from PIE *kaghlo- "pebble" (cf. Gk. kakhlex "round pebble").
Hail was hagol or hægel in Old English (1000), and there are cognates in the other Germanic languages. The Proto Germanic version was *hag(a)lo- (from the ancient Indo-European *kaghlo-), meaning both "pebble" and "hail", and it is thought to be cognate with Greek kakhlex "pebble" and Latin calculus, which also means "pebble". Thus, taken literally, the word hailstone means "pebble-stone", a term which is simultaneously redundant and misleading.
Hail, by the way, is formed when the updrafts and downdrafts in a thunderstorm are strong enough to send water droplets up into the freezing parts of the cloud, then down to collect more water, then up again to freeze, and so on, until the hailstone becomes too heavy for the updraft to support it. Multiple layers of ice can be seen in cross-sections of large hailstones. Think how powerful the updraft must be to keep a weather record "grapefruit-sized" or even a smaller "golfball-sized" hailstone aloft!