a. A violent snowstorm with winds blowing at a minimum speed of 35 miles (56 kilometers) per hour and visibility of less than one-quarter mile (400 meters) for three hours.
b. A very heavy snowstorm with high winds.
2. A torrent; a superabundance: a blizzard of phone calls.
[Originally a mid-19th century regional American term (Western United States), perhaps from earlier American regional blizzard, a stunning blow (suggested by BLAST, BLOW, BLUSTER, etc.), or perhaps a compound of blizz- (either of imitative origin, or from 18-century American regional (Virginia) blizz, powerful rainstorm (of unknown origin)) + -ARD.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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.