What do you think when you hear the word ‘snowed under‘? Does it conjure up thoughts of having to shovel snow or being knee deep in the white powder over winter? Well it does mean this in North America, however in New Zealand it means something different when we are talking in slang. We use the term snowed under as kiwi slang for when you are very busy and have too much work to do.

Someone that has too much responsibility or they are overwhelmed with work will be snowed under. The phrase also indicates that you may have a huge pile of paperwork and you are literally ‘snowed under’ in it. This is often a term that is used in the workplace when you can’t keep on top of your workload.

It does come across as a bit of a despondent saying as when most people are snowed under they feel they can’t get out of the situation they are in. They desperately need help but as much as they try and come to terms with a large workload they can’t get on top of it. There are definitely feelings of helplessness associated with this term.

The term would be used in the context of, ‘I’d love to come out tonight but I’m snowed under at work’.  So next time you are busy and are overwhelmed with your workload, use the phrase snowed under and us kiwis will totally get you!

As a photographer I’ve always had a passion for creative art and recently I have started to feature some Kiwiana Digital Prints with sayings, words, phrases and colloquialisms in my Etsy store.

If you’re a home sick Kiwi living abroad, my artwork may just be an ideal solution for a dose of New Zealand artwork to decorate your home or office.