Ok, it’s a phrase, not a word. It means "like a snail on a sheet of ice." I heard it this morning on the local radio call-in show, and was enchanted. Here’s a real-world example which helpfully explains the phrase. Plus, the example deals with the position of women in Bavarian public-service jobs, which I know has been on all our minds lately.
Speaking of efforts to promote equality between the sexes in government bureaucracies, Ms. Christa Naaß, chairwoman of some comission or other, says: "The efforts to advance womens’ equality in Bavaria are proceeding like a snail on an ice-sheet, incredibly slowly and stubbornly, with lots of sliding to-and-fro!" Isn’t that actually how government bureaucracies operate?
Enough snide quips. Now to science. I’m no malacologist, but I believe I am correct in saying that a snail is a mollusc, and molluscs are cold-blooded. I’m also no iceometrist, but in my experience, ice is generally rather cold. Therefore, I would imagine that a snail trying to move along on a sheet of ice would soon get very, very, sleepy. He would probably curl up in his little shell and take a nap until Spring. Goodbye, snail!
Until we see you again in the Spring, let’s learn a little about your molluscy brother, the sea slug.