- to snow
Karl Hoffman proposed in 1965 that the original meaning of the root was "to stick, remain", with semantic shift to "snow" (i.e. snow is that which sticks). That sense is still being assigned in LIV. However, that interpretation is highly unlikely, given that all the other daughters except Sanskrit (and also within Indo-Iranian and even Indo-Aryan family itself; cf. Prakrit reflex siṇēha "snow, hoarfrost") point to "to snow" as the original meaning of the root. According to Cheung (2007), Hoffman's explanation that this meaning could have coexisted with the meaning "to snow" is untenable. Cheung (2007) argues that the Sanskrit meaning "to stick, remain; sticky fluid" is secondary (possibly of slang origin) "perhaps from whitish bodily fluids which are compared to snow, notably snot and spit".
The zero-grade root noun is presumed to be the older form, while the full-grade thematic derivation (preserved in Germanic, Balto-Slavic and Indo-Iranian) is likely a later innovation.
- Old Irish: snigid "rains, drips, snows"
- Germanic: *snīwaną
- Ancient Greek: νίφω (niphō)
- Indo-Iranian: *snaiǰ
- Polish: śnieg "snow"
- Russian: снег (sneg) "snow"
- Tocharian B: śiñcatstse "snowy" < nominalized *śiñce (“snow”) < *snigʷʰēn
- Helmut Rix (ed.), Lexikon der indogermanischen Verben, 2nd Edition, Dr. Ludwig Reichert Verlag, 2001, page 573
- Johnny Cheung, Etymological Dictionary of the Iranian Verb, Brill: Ledien-Boston, 2007, page 349
- Ranko Matasović, Etymological Dictionary of Proto-Celtic, Brill: Leiden-Boston, 2009, page 349
- Rick Derksen (2008), Etymological Dictionary of the Slavic Inherited Lexicon, Brill: Leiden-Boston, page 457
- Julius Pokorny (1959), Indogermanisches etymologisches Wörterbuch, in 3 vols, Bern, München: Francke Verlag, volume III, page 974
- Manfred Mayrhofer (1986–2001) Etymologisches Wörterbuch des Altindoarischen, in 3 vols, Heidelberg: Carl Winter Universitätsverlag, volume II, page 772
- Dagmar S. Wodtko, Britta Irslinger, Carolin Schneider, Lexikon der indogermanischen Nomina, Universitätsverlag Winter, 2008, pages 622, 623
- J. P. Mallory, D. Q. Adams (ed.), Encyclopedia of Indo-European culture, London: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 1997, page 530
- Carl Darling Buck, A Dictionary of Selected Synonyms in the Principal Indo-European Languages, Chicago: University Of Chicago Press, 1949, pages 68, 69 (1.76)
- Tamaz Gamkrelidze, Vyacheslav Ivanov, Indo-European and the Indo-Europeans, Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter, 1995, page 587
- Calvert Watkins, The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1985, page 62, root sneigʷh-