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Defining a Dictionary Word: Winterkill

For today’s exercise, the goal was to look up a random dictionary word and write about what the word means to me. I used this website and got the word “winterkill”, which means to kill something (such and plants or crops) by exposing it winter temperatures/conditions.

The word itself was a dead giveaway for its meaning, although until I saw the word on the website, I didn’t know such a term existed. The spelling alone for the word gives me a sense of foreboding. Actually, the first image that popped into my head (before I knew what the word meant) was the bright gleam of a knife under intense sunlight. I don’t know why I went for the idea that winterkill had something to do with murder. In a way, you could say winterkilling is technically murder in the agricultural sense, but that’s just me and my dark humor, lol.

I don’t know much about winterkilling since I am not a farmer, but judging from the definition, I suspect there might be good reasons for allowing live plants or crops to waste away when the frost sets in. Perhaps it’s typical to let the winterkilling take place because the plants or crops can only flourish in certain seasons and there’s no way to keep them from dying when winter sets in. Or maybe it’d take too much effort and time to save the plants/crops so it’s better to leave them to the cold elements.

Winterkill, to me, sounds like a very precise term to sum up its purpose. Some feelings I get from thinking about the word is that it is very fierce and unrelenting, especially when nature is involved in having the power to destroy a living thing that is not suited for extreme cold. This reminds me a little when people on Game of Thrones say “Winter is Coming” and how when the phrase is said, you know it’s a warning of ominous things to come. I will be sure to remember to spell out winterkill the next time I play Scrabble (if I happen to get all the right letters).


Prompt 17 from Think Written: Open up a dictionary to a random word. Define what that word means to you.

Featured Image by Annie Spratt.

4 thoughts on “Defining a Dictionary Word: Winterkill

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