WHERE DID THE WORD “BLIZZARD” COME FROM? We have had a lot of snow storms this year, and many of them have been referred to as “blizzards”. It is a little surprising that the origin of a word can be traced to a geographic location. There seems to be general agreement that the usage of the word in connection with snow originated in Iowa in the latter part of the 19th century. This essay by Anatoly Liberman at the Oxford Etymologist website says: “In 1870, in Iowa, a violent snowstorm was called a blizzard.” Liberman gives a date: â€œThe first storm of which there is any record came on the 14th of March, 1870, and was for years remembered as the great blizzard. There had been storms before, many of them every winter, but the one in the spring of 1870 came at a time not expected.”
By 1888 the word was used in the name of the Great Blizzard of 1888, which I posted on here.