For people living in colder climates, a snow-covered hill is a permit for sledding, usually crouching on a plastic sled and ideally on a snowy day at school. But when is a sled a sled, and when is either a toboggan? What is the difference between the three?
According to Grammarist, a sled means any device used for the purpose of crossing a slope on ice or snow. The bottom of the sled can have runners or a smooth bottom. It comes from the Middle Dutch word sled; the British sometimes call a sleigh a sledge.
A sled (from the Dutch word to sleep) is different: it is a sleigh on skates pulled by horses or reindeer, like the type of locomotion favored by Santa Claus. You would not use a sled unless you were pulled by some service animal.
A sled (from the French Canadian word smoking) is a narrow type of sled, but the front curves up and back, making it easier to cross more difficult terrain. There are usually no runners below. Slides, which are usually made of light wood, were once made by the Inuit from whalebone. In the 1800s, sledding became a social pastime for adults, who donned semi-formal clothes like dresses before descending a hill.
And what about bobsleigh? It is a sled with an added steering mechanism. Unlike sledding or sledding, it is an Olympic sport, although many athletes began to enjoy competition by sledding (not sledding) on ââa snowy day at school.