Word of the Moment: serein

From the best word-a-day website, at wordsmith.org:


(suh-RAN [the second syllable is nasal])

noun: Fine rain falling from an apparently cloudless sky, typically observed after sunset.

From French serein, from Old French serain (evening), from Latin serum (evening), from serus (late).

“She must have caught a chill from the serein, that’s all!” Raphael Confiant; Mamzelle Dragonfly; Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 2000.

Here in Dublin, I’ve observed serein during the morning, afternoon, and evening as well. I don’t know of any uniquely Irish slang for this type of rain, although there are lots of words and colloquial phrases for heavier rain.

There must be a word for serein, given how common it is here (and how uncommon it is everywhere else I’ve lived).