1 of 2


: rain that freezes or partly freezes as it falls from the sky
Concerned that ice pellets—also known as sleet—were a larger hazard than previously thought, the Federal Aviation Administration in late 2005 adopted strict limits on planes taking off in such icy conditions.Susan Carey and Andy Pasztor
The wind blew bitterly cold, and the boughs of the old tree crackled under falling sleet.Harriet Jacobs
compare freezing rain, hail entry 1, snow entry 1
sleety adjective


2 of 2


sleeted; sleeting; sleets

intransitive verb

: to shower sleet

Examples of sleet in a Sentence

Noun The snow turned to sleet and made driving very dangerous.
Recent Examples on the Web
Snow and sleet are expected on Friday and could add up to accumulations of 1 inch, the service said in an email on Friday. The Courier-Journal, 16 Feb. 2024 Over the week, parts of the Midwest will receive periods of freezing rain and sleet as temperatures rise. Christopher Cann, USA TODAY, 22 Jan. 2024 As temperatures finally warm — with highs hovering near freezing and slightly above it — forecasters warn to expect a few snowflakes Monday morning and then freezing rain and sleet, starting in the evening and into the next morning. Frank Witsil, Detroit Free Press, 22 Jan. 2024 Snow, sleet and rain struck from Virginia to Pennsylvania on Saturday as a weekend winter storm moved up the East Coast and promised to bring more of the same to New York City and Boston. Minyvonne Burke, NBC News, 7 Jan. 2024 Meanwhile, in the Pacific Northwest, snow will change to sleet and freezing rain across parts of Washington and Oregon on Friday, which may lead to slick roads and dangerous travel. Jon Haworth, ABC News, 19 Jan. 2024 These boots are designed to protect you from snow and sleet. Nicol Natale, Peoplemag, 13 Jan. 2024 Light snow accumulations are possible, mainly west and north of I-95 — the farther north and west, the better the chance of seeing an inch or more — with most places flipping to sleet and then rain fairly quickly. A. Camden Walker, Washington Post, 5 Jan. 2024 But this and other work suggests that the weather must be spectacular, including wind, rain, fog, sleet, waves, maybe even rainbows. The Physics Arxiv Blog, Discover Magazine, 27 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'sleet.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Middle English slete; akin to Middle High German slōz hailstone

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined above


14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of sleet was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near sleet

Cite this Entry

“Sleet.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
: frozen or partly frozen rain
sleety adjective


2 of 2 verb
: to shower sleet

More from Merriam-Webster on sleet

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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