AskDefine | Define snowman

Dictionary Definition

snowman n : a figure of a person made of packed snow

User Contributed Dictionary



snow + man



  1. A humanoid figure made with large snowballs stacked on each other. Human traits like a face and arms are fashioned with sticks (arms), a carrot (nose), and stones or coal (eyes, mouth).
  2. A playing card with the rank of nine.


Derived terms


Extensive Definition

A snowman is a human-like snow sculpture.


In occidental cultures and the northern hemisphere, snowmen are considered a symbol of the winter holiday season for many, and they often appear on Christmas cards.
According to old diaries and chronicles, this activity dates back to at least the Middle Ages, when in Europe every new snowfall would find townsfolk making snowmen in the streets.


It is nearly impossible to build a snowman out of any type of snow other than packing snow. Packing snow is formed when regular powder snow comes near its melting point and becomes moist and compactible. This allows for the construction of large balls of snow by simply rolling a ball of snow until it grows the desired size. Attempting to make a snowman out of powdered snow is extremely difficult since it will not stick to itself. And if packing snow is not rolled into snowballs before it freezes, it will form an unusable denser form of powdered snow called crust. Thus the best time to build a snowman is usually in the next warmest afternoon directly following a snowfall with a sufficient amount of snow.
The common trend is to then dress the snowman, usually with rocks, wood sticks, and vegetables. Carrots are often used for the nose, as are sticks for arms and stones for eyes (traditionally lumps of coal, no longer commonly available). Some like to dress their snowmen in clothing (scarves, jackets, hats). Dressing a snowman in clothing insulates the snowman by keeping out the heat, which means a longer life for the snowman. However, some may prefer not to risk leaving supplies out doors where they could easily be stolen if someone were so maliciously inclined. Also, snowmen usually melt quite quickly on a hot day, which could cause clothing to become stuck under melting ice if not removed promptly. There are variations to these standard forms. These other types range from snow columns to elaborate snow sculptures (similar to ice sculptures).

In fiction

  • Bouli, a French animated series about a snowman's adventures in a magical place.
  • Der Schneemann, a 1943 animated short film created in Germany.
  • Jack Frost (1998 film) a movie with Michael Keaton in which he wakes up as a snowman after a car accident.
  • Jack Frost (1996 film) a horror movie in which a serial killer is transformed into a snowman.
  • Rave Master a Japanese manga in which Plue, the hero's companion, resembles a small snowman.
  • The Snowman British picture book (1978) by Raymond Briggs and animation (1982) directed by Dianne Jackson about a boy who builds a snowman that comes alive and takes him to the North Pole.
  • Frosty, the titular snowman in the popular children's song Frosty the Snowman, had a corncob pipe, a button nose, and two eyes made out of coal.
  • Calvin and Hobbes, an American cartoon by Bill Watterson, contains many instances of Calvin building snowmen, many of which are deformed or otherwise abnormal, often used to poke fun at the art world.
  • Steven Millhauser in one of his collections of short stories, called in the penny arcade wrote a short story called snowmen in which children makes snowmen which are more and more elaborated.
  • Snowmen Hunters, an internet adult oriented comedy series created by Christopher Allan Smith and Ryan Neisz.
  • Snow Bros, an arcade game released in 1990 featuring two snowball-throwing snowmen as the protagonists.
  • The most common snowman story is Frosty the Snowman. It's about a snowman trying to get to the North Pole before he melts.

World's largest snowman

The record for the world's largest snowman was set in February 1999 in Bethel, Maine. The snowman was named "Angus, King of the Mountain" in honor of the then current governor of Maine, Angus King. It was 113 feet, 7 inches tall and weighed over 9,000,000 pounds.

Examples of snowmen

Other snow sculptures

Snow sculptures can be made to resemble animals or other structures, but only a snow sculpture that resembled a man would be called a snowman.


  • Bob Eckstein, The History of the Snowman: From the Ice Age to the Flea Market (2007)

See also

commons snowman
snowman in Czech: Sněhulák
snowman in Danish: Snemand
snowman in German: Schneemann
snowman in Esperanto: Neĝhomo
snowman in French: Bonhomme de neige
snowman in Scottish Gaelic: Bodach-sneachda
snowman in Korean: 눈사람
snowman in Ido: Nivo-homo
snowman in Icelandic: Snjókarl
snowman in Italian: Pupazzo di neve
snowman in Hebrew: איש שלג
snowman in Latvian: Sniegavīrs
snowman in Dutch: Sneeuwpop
snowman in Japanese: 雪だるま
snowman in Norwegian Nynorsk: Snømann
snowman in Uzbek: Qorbobo
snowman in Polish: Bałwan
snowman in Russian: Снеговик
snowman in Albanian: Dordoleci i borës
snowman in Simple English: Snowman
snowman in Slovenian: Snežak
snowman in Finnish: Lumiukko
snowman in Swedish: Snögubbe
snowman in Tajik: Бобои Барфӣ
snowman in Turkish: Kardanadam
snowman in Chinese: 雪人

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

avalanche, blizzard, bust, carving, crystal, doll, dolly, driven snow, dummy, fantoccini, figure, figurehead, figurine, flake, flurry, gingerbread man, granular snow, igloo, lay figure, man of straw, manikin, mannequin, mantle of snow, marionette, model, mogul, monument, portrait bust, puppet, scarecrow, sculpture, slosh, slush, snow, snow banner, snow bed, snow blanket, snow blast, snow fence, snow flurry, snow roller, snow slush, snow squall, snow wreath, snow-crystal, snowball, snowbank, snowbridge, snowcap, snowdrift, snowfall, snowfield, snowflake, snowland, snowscape, snowshed, snowslide, snowslip, snowstorm, statuary, statue, statuette, wax figure, waxwork, wet snow, wood carving
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