sleet

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sleet / slēt/ • n. a form of precipitation consisting of ice pellets, often mixed with rain or snow. ∎  a thin coating of ice formed by sleet or rain freezing on contact with a cold surface. • v. [intr.] (it sleets, it is sleeting, etc.) sleet falls: it was sleeting so hard we could barely see. DERIVATIVES: sleet·y adj.

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sleet, precipitation of small, partially melted grains of ice. As raindrops fall from clouds, they pass through layers of air at different temperatures. If they pass through a layer with a temperature below the freezing point, they turn into sleet. Snowflakes that have melted by passing through a warm layer will turn into sleet if they then pass through a freezing layer. Sleet often falls together with snow and rain, and may deposit an icy coating on exposed surfaces. Sleet occurs only during the winter, while hail, a different form of icy precipitation, may fall at any time of the year.

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sleet Precipitation in the form of a mixture of rain and melting snow. In North America the term is applied to ice pellets of less than 5 mm in diameter.

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sleet Precipitation in the form of a mixture of rain and melting snow. In N. America the term is applied to ice pellets of less than 5 mm in diameter.

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sleet falling snow partially thawed. XIII. repr. OE. *slēte :- *slautjan-, rel. to MLG. slōten pl. hail, MHG. slōze, slōz (G. schlosse) hail(stone).