Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Canadian Slushy or broken ice floating as a mass at sea.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Slushy sea ice.

Etymologies

From dialectal slob, muddy land, from Irish Gaelic slab, mud; see slob.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

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Comments

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  • Huh. And now it seems odd to see it in its original context. Thanks, c_b. :-)

    December 11, 2007

  • Answering reesetee's question on local slob here--whether "slob" in the sense of "ice" is related to "slob" in the sense of "dirty person."

    OED lists the first definition as mud or oozy muck, esp. along the shore. It lists the Canadian use of "slob-ice" in the same sense of the word--so dirty ice:

    1835 E. WIX Six Months Newfoundland Missionary's Jrnl. (1836) 16, "I crossed through the ‘*slob ice’, which was very thick in Conception Bay, to Port de Grave." 1920 W. T. GRENFELL Labrador Doctor vi. 132 "The slob ice had already made ballicaters and the biting cold of winter so far north had set in with all its vigour." 1955 Sci. Amer. Apr. 52/3 "On the way to Little America, its first Antarctic port of call, the Atka saw very little of the drifting ice pack that surrounds the continent. It passed through a few ‘bergy bits’ and pieces of ‘slob ice’--melting remnants of the pack." 1965 F. RUSSELL Secret Islands vii. 88 "The island was isolated because it was surrounded by impassable slob ice."

    The next definition is more like a person who leaves his socks lying around, "a person of no account." Probably that meaning came from the other one--it would seem to make sense that way.

    Interestingly, the etymology seems to support a connection to the word slut as well!
    "Mainly a. Irish slab (slb) mud, SLAB n.2; but cf. also SLOBBER n. and Du. slobbe, Fris. slobbe, slob clout, swab, slut."

    December 10, 2007

  • "The ice-field begins in late summer as young ice in Baffin Bay. Slowly it moves south. In November off Labrador the sea is dappled by small circular pieces of ice that have been chopped and crushed to a snowy consistency by wind and sea. Under winter's encouragement this grows rapidly into blocks six to ten feet in diameter, a lovely translucent green with white edges created by constant grinding against other pans. This is known to mariners and sealers as slob ice. On calm winter nights off the Labrador coast the sea freezes until these blocks are embedded in large sheets of ice that may be several miles in length, but are constantly forming and reforming under pressure of sea and wind. This becomes the sheet ice that is the home of the whelping seals."
    --Cassie Brown with Harold Horwood, Death on the Ice: The Great Newfoundland Sealing Disaster of 1914, Doubleday Canada, 1972.

    See also local slob and northern slob.

    December 10, 2007