Tag Archives: gelid


It’s the gelid time, the time when the cold is legit, when you glide on the sidewalk even in your clonky boots. When you get together with the larger family for larger family meals, with jellied cranberries or jellied salad or jellied eels depending on what your clan is like. When from your urban shoebox dwelling, perhaps, you make a trek to a cold country home, decorated as in Maya Angelou’s vision:

Flush on inner cottage walls
Antiquitous faces,
Used to the gelid breath
Of old manors, glare disdainfully
Over breached time.

Oh, those gilded gelid days, when the warm family embrace was from the fingers of Jack Frost. It is in the deep mid-winter (which somehow is proximate to the very first day of official winter, though the denizens of the true north strong and freezing know it hit us a month or more ago); frosty wind makes moan; earth stands hard as iron, water like a stone. Thank divine providence and clever humanity for central heating, if you have it.

Yes, gelid is ‘cold’, basically. It’s like frigid, but it’s freezing. It’s the same -id, but frigid starts with Latin frigus, ‘cold, coldness’, whereas gelid starts from Latin gelu, ‘frost’. So if you are gelid, you are as cold as ice. You may be as pretty as the fancy ferns of frost on an Alberta foothill windowpane, but you are no less frozen. You are as welcoming as that jellied salad, at the very most, but no warmer than a Jell-O popsicle, and in this weather it will be you who is licked; it is not the August dog days. It is the moon of wintertime, when all the birds have flown. You may hope for Santa Claus and his Missus, but what you get is Jack Frost and his wife, Gellian.

Unless, of course, like some people I know, you are where it is still quite warm know. In which case, count your blessings and treat yourself to a gelid beverage.