snowdrop

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English[edit]

Snowdrops in winter
Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) in Chute, Wiltshire, in England

Etymology[edit]

From snow +‎ drop.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

snowdrop (plural snowdrops)

  1. Any of the 20 species of the genus Galanthus of the Amaryllidaceae, bulbous flowering plants, bearing a solitary, pendulous, white, bell-shaped flower that appears, depending on species, between autumn and late winter or early spring, all native to temperate Eurasia.
    • 1722, Thomas Tickell, Kensington Garden, London: Printed for J[acob] Tonson, in the Strand, OCLC 270894685; republished in The Poems of Garth, and Tickell (The British Poets. Including Translations. In One Hundred Volumes; XXVII), Chiswick, Middlesex: From the press of C[harles] Whittingham, College House, 1822, OCLC 16074759, page 166:
      A flower that first in this sweet garden smiled, / To virgins sacred, and the Snow-drop styled.
    • 1865, Ouida [pseudonym; Marie Louise de la Ramée], “White Ladies”, in Strathmore: A Romance. [...] In Three Volumes, London: Chapman and Hall, 193, Piccadilly, OCLC 4557613; republished as Strathmore: A Romance. [...] In Two Volumes (Collection of British Authors; 1169), volume I, Tauchnitz edition, Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1871, OCLC 798495291, page 9:
      White Ladies did not mean snowdrops, by their pretty old English name, ghosts in white cere-clothes, or belles in white tarlatan.
    • 2016, Gail Harland, Snowdrop (Botanical), London: Reaktion Books, ISBN 978-1-78023-492-2:
      [I]t was considered unlucky to decorate a room with cut snowdrops. The name death's flower relates to an old belief that a solitary snowdrop indicates impending death, with suggestions that it was inauspicious to bring snowdrops indoors.

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

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Verb[edit]

snowdrop (third-person singular simple present snowdrops, present participle snowdropping, simple past and past participle snowdropped)

  1. (Australia, slang, transitive, intransitive) To steal clothing (especially women's underwear) from a clothesline.
    • 1989, Southerly: The Magazine of the Australian English Association, volume 49, Sydney: Australian English Association, OCLC 60624422, page 561:
      MS: There was a lot of snowdropping in those days? / SL: Oh, I've never actually stooped to snowdropping; I used to go into shops. Boosting, man, boosting. But you learn how to survive.
    • 1992, Peter O'Toole, Loitering with Intent: The Early Years, New York, N.Y.: Hyperion Books, ISBN 978-1-56282-823-3, page 50:
      Snowdropping’ is the business of some poor sods who, often from laundry drying on a clothes line, pinch items of ladies’ underwear, take them away and sniff them.
    • 2011, Tony Hardy, “A Love Story”, in Fifteen Percent Pregnant: A Story of Life, and Love, and IVF, Docklands, Melbourne, Vic.: The Slattery Media Group, ISBN 978-0-9807447-7-4, page 239:
      It'll be like snowdropping clothes from a clothesline. We'll snowdrop a baby.

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