- The earliest written use of blizzard as a term to describe a severe snowstorm, spelled blizard, was in the Estherville, Iowa's Northern Vindicator on 23 April 1870. O.C. Bates , neologistic editor of the Northern Vindicator, used it for the terrific snowstorms in the state that spring. He claimed he had picked up the term from locals characterizing a "Lightning Ellis", on account of his violent outbursts. One week later it appeared again in the same newspaper, only with the now-common double-z spelling.
- Blizzard possibly comes from the surname "Blizzard" dating back to 1700s(?). Blizzard surname possibly comes from the blizzard one, dating back to the 1500s(?).
- The word blizzard was used (not in relation to the weather) in America prior to 1870. It had various, roughly associated, now obsolete meanings:
- Blast with a firearm or cannon  (whether one or multiple bullets or pellets uncertain)
- Verbal blast 
- Blast with a firearm or cannon  (single ball or bullet):
- Blazing fire 
- Heavy or painful physical blow  (not involving a firearm)
- Literal or figurative attack 
- Exclamation (like “the blazes” or “blue blazes")
- Blast with multiple firearms or with a firearm loaded with multiple pellets 
- Shot of liquor 
- Probably from the German blitzartig (“very fast, like lightning”)
- Another version suggests French blesser (to wound) , but neither this nor the German can be substantiated. Yet another claims that blizzard derives from English dialect blizzer, meaning "a blaze" or "flash" ("Put towthry sticks on th' fire, an' let's have a blizzer," - The English Dialect Dictionary)  or from blazer (something that blazes or blasts), which gave the early sense "a volley of firing guns," that is, a general "blazing away."
BLIZZARD (7th S. v. 106).—The word blizzard is well known through the Midlands, and its cognates are fairly numerous. I have known the word and its kin fully thirty years. Country folk use the word to denote blazing, blasting, blinding, dazzling, or stifling. One who has had to face a severe storm of snow, hail, rain, dust, or wind, would say on reaching shelter that he has "faced a blizzer," or that the storm was "a regular blizzard." A blinding flash of lightning would call forth the exclamation, "My! that wor a blizzomer!" or "That wor a blizzer!" "Put towthry sticks on th' fire, an let's have a blizzer"—a blaze. "A good blizzom" = a good blaze. "That tree is blizzared" = blasted, withered. As an oath the word is often used, and "May I be blizzerded" will be readily understood.
- A check of some of the Midlands regional glossaries printed in the 1800s finds several entries for blizzy. First, from Anne Baker, Glossary of Northamptonshire words and phrases (1854): 
BLIZZY. A blaze. "Blow the fire, and let's have a nice blizzy." This, though now considered a vulgarism, is a retention of the original A.-Sax. blysa, a blaze.
And Angelina Parker, A Glossary of Words Used in Oxfordshire (1876): 
Blizzy, a flaring fire produced by putting on small sticks. Ex. 'Let's 'a a bit of a blizzy afore us goes to bed.'
And from Barzillai Lowsley, A Glossary of Berkshire Words and Phrases (1888): 
BLIZZY.— A blaze. The fire is said to be all of a "blizzy" when pieces of wood have been inserted amongst the coal to make it burn cheerfully.
And from G. F. Northall, A Warwickshire Word-book (1896): 
Blizzy, sb. A blaze, a blast, a flare of fire. A.-Sax. blysa, a blaze. Common.
They suggest that blizzy survived from the ancient word blysa in numerous localities and might well share a root with the U.S. blizzard.
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈblɪ.zəd/
- (General American) IPA(key): /ˈblɪ.zɚd/
Audio (US) (file)
blizzard (plural blizzards)
- A large snowstorm accompanied by strong winds and greatly reduced visibility caused by blowing snow.
- (figuratively) A large amount of paperwork.
- (figuratively) A large number of similar things.
- 2013 June 22, “Snakes and ladders”, in The Economist, volume 407, number 8841, page 76:
- Risk is everywhere. […] For each one there is a frighteningly precise measurement of just how likely it is to jump from the shadows and get you. “The Norm Chronicles” […] aims to help data-phobes find their way through this blizzard of risks.
- a blizzard of political ads
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.
- (impersonal, of snow) To fall in windy conditions.
- ^ Garaeme Donald (2008) Fighting Talk General Military, ISBN 1846034558, page 49
- ^ Davy Crockett (1834) Davy Crockett Almanack
- ^ Davy Crockett (1835) An Account of Col. Crockett's Tour to the North and Down East: In the Year of Our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty-four. His Object Being to Examine the Grand Manufacturing Establishments of the Country; and Also to Find Out the Condition of Its Literature and Morals, the Extent of Its Commerce, and the Practical Operation of "The Experiment", Davy Crockett, page 19
- ^ A Dictionary of Slang, Jargon & Cant Embracing English, American, and Anglo-Indian Slang, Pidgin English, Gypsies' Jargon and Other Irregular Phraseology, Volume 1, 1897, page 129
- ^ Joseph Jones (1843) Major Jones's Scenes in Georgia Volume 25 of American humorists series Foreign Book and Serial Vendors Directories, ISBN 0839819560, page 153
- ^ “Diabolical Outrage”, in Anti-slavery Bugle (in english), issue 52, Salem, Ohio: Executive Committee of the Western Anti-slavery Society, August 25, 1849, ISSN 2166-1863, page 3
- ^ “~Whig Candidate for Floater!~ To Your Tents, Oh! Israel!”, in Fayetteville Observer (in english), issue 1, Fayetteville, Tennessee: Alfred H. Berry, July 29, 1851, ISSN 2328-0956, page 3
- ^ “Pocketbook Found”, in Mongolia Mirror (in english), issue 122, Morgantown, Virginia: Simeon Siegfried, Sr., Novermber 5, 1853, ISSN 2374-2178, page 1
- ^ “Life in Egypt”, in Holms County Republican (in english), issue 13, Millsburg, Ohio: J. Caskey, November 15, 1860, ISSN 2166-5672, page 1
- ^ “Raftsman's Journal”, in Raftsman's Journal (in english), Clearfield Pennsylvania: Ben. Jones, September 21, 1870, ISSN 2330-846X
- ^ Craig M. Carver (1991) A History of English in Its own words, ISBN 0062700138, page 202
- ^ Joseph Wright (1898) The English Dialect Dictionary, ISBN 1113929766, page 303
- ^ Anne Baker (1854) Glossary of Northamptonshire words and phrases vol. 1, ISBN 1152470914, page 57
- ^ Angalina Parker (1876) A Glossary of Words Used in Oxfordshire, ISBN 117864894X, page 114
- ^ Barzillai Lowsley (1888) A Glossary of Berkshire Words and Phrases, ISBN 1248484231, page 80
- ^ G. F. Northall (1896) A Warwickshire Word-book, page 31