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.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.