1. The upper part of a glacier where the snow turns into ice.
a. A snow field at the head of a glacier.
b. The granular snow typically found in such a field.
[French, from French dialectal névi, from Vulgar Latin *nivātum, from neuter of Latin nivātus, cooled by snow, from nix, niv-, snow; see sneigwh- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
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Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.