AskDefine | Define drizzle

Dictionary Definition

drizzle n : very light rain; stronger than mist but less than a shower [syn: mizzle]


1 rain lightly; "When it drizzles in summer, hiking can be pleasant" [syn: mizzle]
2 moisten with fine drops; "drizzle the meat with melted butter" [syn: moisten]

User Contributed Dictionary



The first part of the verb, driz- comes probably from drēse, drēosan


  • /ˈdrɪz.l/, /"drIz.l/
  • Rhymes: -ɪzəl


  1. To rain lightly.
  2. To pour slowly and evenly, especially with oil in cooking.
    The recipe says to toss the salad and then drizzle it in olive oil.
    The recipe says to toss the salad and then drizzle olive oil on it.
  3. To urinate.


to rain lightly
  • Czech: mrholit
  • Finnish: tihuttaa, tihkuttaa, sataa tihkua
  • French: bruiner
  • German: nieseln
  • Hungarian: szitál, szemerkél
  • Polish: mżyć
to pour slowly and evenly
to urinate
  • Finnish: lorottaa
  • Polish: sikać


  1. Light rain
  2. In the context of "physics|weather": . Very small, numerous, and uniformly dispersed water drops, mist, or sprinkle. Unlike fog droplets, drizzle falls to the ground. It is sometimes accompanied by low visibility and fog.
    No longer pouring, the rain outside slowed down to a faint drizzle.
  3. Water.
    Stop drinking all of my drizzle, bitch!


light rain
(physics, weather) numerous small and uniformly dispersed water drops
  • Finnish: sadesumu, tihku
  • German: Nieselregen, Sprühregen
  • Swedish: duggregn
(slang) water

Extensive Definition

Drizzle is light precipitation consisting of liquid water drops smaller than that of rain, and generally smaller than 0.5 mm (0.02 in.) in diameter. Drizzle is normally produced by low stratiform clouds and stratocumulus clouds. Precipitation rates due to drizzle are on the order of a millimeter per day or less at the ground. Owing to the small size of drizzle drops, under many circumstances drizzle largely evaporates before reaching the surface, and so may be undetected by observers on the ground. The METAR code for drizzle is DZ.


While most drizzle has only a minor immediate impact upon humans, Freezing drizzle can lead to treacherous conditions. Freezing drizzle occurs when supercooled drizzle drops land on a surface whose temperature is below freezing. These drops immediately freeze upon impact leading to the buildup of sheet ice on the surface of roads, and very heavy accumulations of ice on power lines, both of which have major impacts.


Drizzle tends to be the most frequent form of precipitation over large areas of the worlds oceans, particularly in the colder regions of the subtropics. These regions are dominated by shallow marine stratocumulus and trade wind cumulus clouds, which exist entirely within the marine boundary layer. Despite the low rates of surface accumulation, it is becoming apparent that drizzle actually exerts a major influence over the cloud structure, coverage, and radiative properties in these regions. This has motivated scientists to design more sophisticated, sensitive instruments such as high frequency radars that can detect drizzle. These studies have shown that the quantity of drizzle is strongly linked to cloud morphology and tends to be associated with updrafts within the marine boundary layer. Increased amounts of drizzle tend to be found in marine clouds that form in clean airmasses that have low concentrations of cloud droplets. This interconnection between clouds and drizzle can be explored using high resolution numerical modeling such as large eddy simulation.

Potential uses

It has been hypothesized that increasing the amounts of particulates in the atmosphere through human activities may lead to a suppression of drizzle. According to this hypothesis, because drizzle can be an effective means of removing moisture from a cloud, its suppression could help to increase the thickness, coverage, and longevity of marine stratocumulus clouds. This would lead to increased cloud albedo on the regional to global scale, and a cooling of the planet. Estimates using complex global climate models suggest that this effect may be partially masking the effects of greenhouse gas increases on the global surface temperature. However, it is not clear that the representation of the chemical and physical processes needed to accurately simulate the interaction between aerosols, clouds, and drizzle in our current climate models is sufficient to fully understand the global impacts of changes in particulates.

See also


drizzle in Czech: Mrholení
drizzle in Danish: Støvregn
drizzle in German: Sprühregen
drizzle in Spanish: Llovizna
drizzle in French: Bruine
drizzle in Italian: Pioviggine
drizzle in Luxembourgish: Fisemreen
drizzle in Dutch: Motregen
drizzle in Japanese: 霧雨
drizzle in Norwegian: Yr
drizzle in Norwegian Nynorsk: Yr
drizzle in Polish: Mżawka
drizzle in Portuguese: Chuvisco
drizzle in Russian: Морось
drizzle in Simple English: Drizzle
drizzle in Walloon: Brouhene
drizzle in Samogitian: Dolksna

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Scotch mist, blood rain, drum, evening mist, fall, flurry, gout of rain, mist, misty rain, mizzle, moisture, patter, pelt, pitter-patter, pour, pour with rain, precipitate, precipitation, rain, rain tadpoles, raindrop, rainfall, rainwater, sheet of rain, shower, shower down, spatter, spit, splatter, sprinkle, stream, tattoo, unfrozen hydrometeor, weep, wet
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