grau·​pel | \ ˈgrau̇-pəl How to pronounce graupel (audio) \

Definition of graupel

: granular snow pellets

called also soft hail

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Did You Know?

The word graupel is Germanic in origin; it is the diminutive of Graupe, meaning "pearl barley." According to etymologists, there does seem to be a grain of truth in the assumption that the word grew from the Slavic word krupa, which has the same meaning. Graupel was first seen in an 1889 weather report and has been whirling around in the meteorology field ever since to describe "pellets of snow" or "soft hail" (the latter phrase is an actual synonym of graupel).

Examples of graupel in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Thunderstorms with a considerable amount of graupel are moving north through the Loveland and Fort Collins areas. Kieran Nicholson, The Denver Post, "Cold winds blow into northern Colorado with thunder, lightning, graupel," 9 Oct. 2019 Been a while since this warm in early May Before the warmth really settles in, be prepared for a chilly and rainy Monday that could even see graupel in some areas. David Epstein,, "A look at how hot it will get this week, and what that means for New Englanders," 30 Apr. 2018 Stellar fit and weather protection make these our four favorite top layers Whether it’s sleet, graupel, drizzle, or downpour, soggy comes in many flavors. Kelly Bastone, Outside Online, "The Best Rain Jackets for Women," 12 Apr. 2018 What starts in the clouds as snow can fall as sleet, rain, freezing rain, or even graupel (snowflakes pocked with rime ice). Geoff Fox, Slate Magazine, "Why Are We So Bad at Predicting How Much Snow We’ll Get?," 3 Jan. 2018 Tiny pellets of ice, called graupel, may shower down during intense burst of snow, but a few hailstones of pea or even dime size could occur in the most intense thundersnow. Matthew Cappucci, Washington Post, "This nor’easter has the potential to produce epic thundersnow," 7 Mar. 2018 The answer: a mix of hail and graupel , Kurth said. Benjy Egel, sacbee, "Hail blankets Sacramento - or was it snow? - and social media goes wild | The Sacramento Bee," 27 Feb. 2018 Closer to home, a couple quick spritzes of graupel and snowflakes have been happening. Jason Samenow, Washington Post, "Briefly disruptive snow showers, mainly north of the city this evening. Some icy roads overnight as well.," 13 Dec. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'graupel.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of graupel

1889, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for graupel


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Time Traveler for graupel

Time Traveler

The first known use of graupel was in 1889

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Cite this Entry

“Graupel.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jan. 2021.

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