How to Talk About Seasons: 30+ Weather Idioms in English
Most people know that different weather conditions can affect our moods. For example, many of us feel more energetic on sunny days, while we may feel slightly down when it’s rainy. But the weather can also affect the way we speak. In many languages, the weather is a metaphor for human emotions and states of being. Many English weather idioms can help you be natural and fluent when talking about your feelings. In this article, you will learn 30+ weather expressions to liven up your conversation and make you sound like a native speaker!
Why learn idioms about the weather?
English idiom, according to the Cambridge Dictionary, is a group of words with a meaning that is different from the definitions of each individual work. They often describe feelings or situations and confuse non-native speakers because they do not make sense literally. For example, the idiom “it’s raining cats and dogs” is often used to describe heavy rain, but if you take it literally, it doesn’t make any sense! Many reasons explain the popularity of using idioms about the weather in daily conversations. Let’s look at the most significant ones:
- The weather is a great conversation starter. It’s something that we can all relate to and is a topic that people are usually happy to discuss.
- Weather idioms add color and interest to our language. They can help us to describe our feelings more accurately, and they can also make our language sound more natural.
- Learning the weather idioms can help you to understand native speakers better. If you know the phrase’s meaning, you’ll be able to follow along even if you don’t understand every word being said.
- Using idioms, you can say more in fewer words. If you don’t want to be boring, and you don’t want your speech to sound like a dull monologue, consider replacing lengthy statements with short idioms (but only those that fit the context).
Those reasons would be enough for now to understand the importance of weather-related and general idioms in our conversations.
However, if your main goal is to strengthen your speaking skills, expand your vocabulary, and sound like a native speaker, try remembering some of them for future dialogues. And if you don’t know the best way to learn them, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. Just check out the next part of our article.
How to learn and use English weather idioms in daily life?
As you already know, an idiom is just a group of words that don’t mean anything without context. Unlike proverbs, which are complete sentences that you can use independently, such phrases sound absurd if you don’t know their definitions.
So to understand idioms for weather conversations, you must first learn them. And tips below will help you to do so.
- Find the context. Idioms are good only if they fit the general vibe of your conversation. So, to avoid misusing them, just check out Google and find definitions of the phrases you want to learn. Check modern examples of idioms with the weather in context, and try to create some by yourself.
- Find analogs in your mother tongue. Every country has hundreds of idioms and proverbs for every life situation. Most of them sound similar and mean the same, so you can try translating the phrase you want to learn in your native language. If it still doesn’t ring a bell, try to find an idiom that means the same thing and devise an example that combines both the native and English versions of the expression.
- Learn the history behind the expression. It is a great way to learn something new and to understand better why a particular idiom means what it means. The Internet contains hundreds of different stories and historical origins of various expressions, so check them when you have some spare time. This article mentions a few of the most popular ones, and we can’t wait for you to check them.
- Use English-learning apps and websites. If you don’t want to spend hours scrolling through the Web looking for idioms, try to install an app on your phone or tablet. Hundreds of reliable English-learning platforms, like Promova, provide students with applications to make the studying process more accessible. Here you can find enough idioms examples to strengthen your skills.
- Practice more. It might seem obvious, but it’s true. The more practice you do, the better your English level will be. Try to use new idioms in informal conversations with your friends or colleagues, start small talks with strangers using freshly learned weather idioms, and see how confident you will become and how strong your speaking skills will be.
These simple exercises will help you learn as many idioms as you want and understand how to use them in everyday conversations. And now that you know tips for remembering them, let’s see the most popular English idioms about the weather with explanations and examples.
30+ English Idioms about the weather
This section will show you the most popular idioms about different seasons, weather conditions, and other related topics. You will see not only literal but also metaphorical examples, their origins and stories behind them, and everything you need to not only learn such phrases but to understand how to fit them into your chats, dialogues, and small talks. So, what are you waiting for? Keep reading because our journey will start right away!
5 English idioms about the weather and their origins
The first group of expressions on our list will be the most popular and widely used English weather idioms. And to make sure you will remember them, we will use one of the tips provided below and share their historical origins to make you more involved in their meanings.
- To steal someone’s thunder.
This idiom originates from the backstage of the 18th-century theater. Back then, people used various mechanisms to create a plausible sound of thunder, from metal sheets to lead balls. And that’s when the story begins – famous (but honestly, not very successful) director, John Dennis, presented his play in one of London’s theaters. It was not very popular and was quickly removed from the scene, but one thing about it caught the eyes of other artists.
Dennis invented a new way of creating thunder sounds – he put metal balls in the bowl instead of lead ones. It was very believable, so many other directors decided to use this so-called "mustard bowl" (the name Dennis gave this mechanism) in their plays. When the creator heard this method used in the Macbeth play, he said the villains stole his thunder. And that is when this expression became an infamous idiom.
Nowadays, to steal one’s thunder means to use someone else’s ideas or methods to take their fame, success, and recognition. It is also used to say that another person overshadowed you in an exceptional moment of your life. Here is how you can use this idiom in your conversations:
It is my birthday, and you tell everyone that you will break up with John after five years of marriage! Couldn’t you just wait until tomorrow? I don’t understand this need to steal my thunder.
She told everyone that she wrote this poem herself, but I created it for her. I hate when she is stealing my thunder.
- To take a rain check.
In the middle of the past century, America became a big baseball-fan country. People were interested in this sport; new teams appeared almost daily, and the stadiums started selling baseball game tickets. So what does it do with the weather idioms, you may ask? Just keep reading, and you will see the connection.
The match is often interrupted when it rains during the game, and people must leave the stadium. And here’s the thing – before 1932, there were no rain checks in baseball. So if it rains during a match, people who bought tickets cannot return them and get a refund or exchange them for other games.
In 1932, MLB (Major League Baseball) implemented a rule stating that if the game is interrupted by rain, fans will be able to exchange their tickets for other matches. This system was called a rain check because people had to take their old tickets to prove they had attended the game.
Nowadays, an idiom to take a rain check means rescheduling your plans due to various circumstances. For example, someone asks you on a date, and you want to go, but you must work at night. In this situation, you can offer a person to take a rain check and go out later. Here are a few more sentences with this beautiful idiom:
I want to see that movie, but I’m visiting my granny this weekend. Do you mind taking a rain check?
I’m sorry, but I have to take a rain check on our meeting.
My cousin is returning from college, and we will throw him a welcome party.
- Make hay while the sun shines.
The phrase originated from agricultural life in the 18th century. Back then, farmers had only two ways of storing hay – either in a barn (if they had one) or outside, where it could get wet because of rain or snow. So if farmers had an opportunity to dry hay on a sunny day, they did not hesitate to do it because they knew it could be their last chance before the bad weather.
Nowadays, we use this idiom in our daily lives when discussing work, business, love, or friendship. It means to do something immediately, without delay. It can also mean taking the opportunity when it’s available and not wasting it by retarding. Here are a few examples:
You have an opportunity to travel and work at the same time – don’t hesitate, just do it! Make hay while the sun shines.
I will spend a few days working because my boss has promised me a generous financial bonus. It is better to make hay while the sun shines.
I was arguing with her because she likes to delay essential things, and I think she must make hay while the sun shines.
- To break the ice.
This expression originated in the 19th century with the first steam icebreakers designed to navigate the waters of the polar regions. As you understand, these vessels were intended to guide under challenging conditions: the ships could navigate in waters covered with thick ice.
The steam engine's power helped break up the ice and enable the machine to reach its destination.
Nowadays, this idiom’s meaning is connected with parties and social events when people do not know each other. The analogy arose from the fact that among strangers, a person, like an icebreaker, must “break the ice” and reach his goal – to make acquaintances or establish business relations. For example, you can tell a joke or ask an interesting question. Here are a few sentences with this idiom:
I like this girl but don’t know how to break the ice and start talking to her. Maybe, I should just ask how she’s doing.
Remember a few idioms to understand how to break the ice in the company of strangers.
She was trying hard to break the ice, but it seemed that he wasn’t interested in that conversation.
- To feel under the weather.
The phrase most likely originated in the 18th century, when maritime travel was prevalent. Many people got seasick because of the lousy weather and felt unwell then. Moreover, they had to spend much time below the deck, away from fresh air and sunlight. Eventually, this phrase became synonymous with feeling unwell or sick.
At first, the expression was a bit different.
Then, it sounded like that: under the weather bow (it is a part of the ship where all the bad weather blows). Nowadays, this expression describes an awful feeling when we catch a cold. Here is how you can use it in daily conversations:
I am sorry, but I can’t go to work today. I am feeling under the weather.
Mary invited me to her birthday party, and I was so happy. But now I feel under the weather, so I’ll call her and say that I can’t do it.
5 of the best idioms for hot weather
Even though we like cold seasons, with all these Halloween-Christmas festivities, decorations, cozy sweaters, and holiday feelings, it is always good to remember hot and sunny summer days when the world looks brighter and happier. That is why we will share the best English idioms about hot weather to remind you about this beautiful time.
- Hotter than Dutch love in the harvest.
This idiom has two meanings – literal and figurative. It is primarily widespread in North America, and in the first place, it describes hot weather. Another way to use this phrase is to define passionate couple relationships (usually intimate ones). For example:
We are going to the beach tomorrow, so you better wear a hat. It will be hotter than the Dutch love in the harvest.
Yes, we finally met at her house yesterday. How was it? I’ll tell you, my friend. It was hotter than Dutch love in the harvest.
- Hot enough to fry an egg on the pavement.
Like most idioms related to the hot, this one has a literal meaning. This phrase describes extreme heat when it is so hot that you can cook an egg on the ground. Usually, this idiom is used in informal conversations:
I don’t want to go outside. It is hot enough to fry an egg on the pavement.
She’s asked me for a walk, and I don’t know what to wear. All my shorts are in the laundry, and I will not wear jeans – it’s hot enough to fry an egg on the pavement.
- Dog days of summer.
This idiom is used to describe the hottest time of the year. In the Northern Hemisphere, it is the period from July to August. It is believed that this phrase arose because people noticed that dogs become lazier and sleep more during these months. Another theory says that this phrase is connected with Sirius, the brightest star in the Canis Major constellation. According to Roman mythology, the heat will come soon when Sirius rises. Here are a few sentences with this idiom:
Don’t forget to drink much water during dog days – you may get dehydrated quickly.
The weather is finally cooling down; I don’t have to worry about the dog days of summer anymore.
- Hot mess.
You can use this idiom to describe someone who looks fantastic, even at their lowest. Even though it is not about the weather, it is still connected to this topic. And don’t forget – most idioms have figurative meaning. Here is how you can use this expression:
I am exhausted today, but I still look like a Hollywood star. Now I understand why my husband called me a hot mess.
Sorry for my outfit. I just woke up, and I look like a hot mess.
- Hotter than blue blazes.
The blue blazes are one of the many idioms that describe hell. And as you know, hell is really hot, so this expression usually describes extreme heat outside. For example:
It’s hotter than blue blazes out there!
Noon is a terrible time for exercising in summer. It’s hotter than blue blazes, and you will sweat like a pig!
Five literal idioms for cold weather
We don’t know why exactly, but there are more cold weather idioms in English than hot ones. Some describe atmosphere conditions, while others have entirely different meanings. That is why we have two sections related to this topic. And the literal cold weather idioms will be our first discussion subject.
- Brass monkey weather/Brass monkey.
For avid Promova readers, this one will be familiar. We’ve already mentioned this one in the British Slang article. This idiom describes cold weather and is primarily used in the UK. The phrase has two interchangeable variations. You can use them both to describe cold conditions, but remember – it’s NSFW. For example:
What brass monkey weather! Do you want to get some hot tea?
Why are you taking only a thin coat? It’s brass monkey weather!
- To bundle up.
Most people wear thick coats, hats, and gloves when it’s cold outside. This phrase describes this action. For example:
You should bundle up before going out. Do you want to catch a cold?
I can’t believe that it’s so cold today! I have to bundle up just to go to the grocery store.
- Dead of winter.
The dead of winter is the coldest time of the year when the temperature outside is at its lowest point. This phrase is often used in literature and movies to describe a depressing atmosphere:
She was so lonely during the dead of winter that she started talking to her plants.
He didn’t want to leave the house during the dead of winter because he hated the cold.
- Snug as a bug in a rug.
This phrase is used to describe the feeling of comfort and warmth, especially during the coldest times of the year. You can use it when you are cozy in your bed or wearing warm clothes. For example:
I am so tired. I just want to stay in bed and be snug as a bug in a rug.
After walking in the cold for an hour, I am finally home and snug as a bug in a rug.
- A cold snap.
A cold snap is a sudden change in the weather, usually from warm to cold. This phrase is often used to describe an unpleasant surprise. For example:
We had such lovely weather, and a cold snap hit us out of nowhere.
I can’t believe it! It was so hot yesterday, and now we have a cold snap.
Ten figurative idioms about cold weather
Now we are moving to the second part of our freezing cold idioms. You already know how to describe weather conditions with famous sayings, so it’s time to learn how to use similar phrases non-literally. First, look at our list of the ten best winter weather idioms with figurative meanings.
- Cold feet.
This phrase describes the feeling of anxiety or fear that often appears before an important event. It’s often used to describe people who are about to get married but start having doubts. For example:
He was all set to propose, but he got cold feet and chickened out.
I’m excited about my new job, but I also have cold feet.
- To give someone the cold shoulder.
It is another excellent weather-related idiom that describes the act of ignoring someone. If you give someone the cold shoulder, you pretend they don’t exist. For example:
She was distraught with him, so she gave him the cold shoulder all night.
I don’t know why he’s giving me the cold shoulder. I thought we were friends.
- Out in the cold.
You can use this widespread idiom to discuss a person not included in a group or activity or people who feel left out. For example:
I was the only one who didn’t get invited to the party, so I felt like being out in the cold.
She always feels out in the cold when her friends start talking about boys.
- To be cold-blooded.
Do you know people who didn’t cry watching Titanic or Hachi? Well, they must be really cold-blooded. You can use this idiom when you want to mention someone who lacks empathy. For example:
He is so cold-blooded! He didn’t even care that his dog died.
The murderer must be cold-blooded to kill all those innocent people.
- A frosty reception.
Have you ever been in a situation when you are not welcomed warmly? You clearly saw that the person wasn’t happy to see you. And that is what this idiom is about. It’s often used to explain a business meeting or a social event that didn’t go well. For example:
I was hoping for better reception, but I got a frosty one instead.
He gave the new employees a frosty reception on their first day.
- To be snowed under.
This phrase describes a situation when you have too much work and can’t handle everything. It’s often used to describe students with too many assignments or employees with too many projects. For example:
I am so snowed under with work that I don’t know what to do.
The students are so snowed under with exams that they are all stressed out.
- To be ice cold.
This phrase refers to someone who is very calm and collected. You can use this idiom when describing someone who doesn’t get nervous easily. For example:
She remained ice cold during the robbery, even though she was scared.
He is so ice cold that nothing can phase him.
- Cold comfort.
This phrase describes something that makes you feel better but not by much. It’s often used to describe a situation when someone tries to make you feel better, but it doesn’t work. For example:
It was cold comfort to know that I wasn’t the only one who failed the test.
After I broke my bike, it was cold comfort to know that I could get another one.
- When the hell freezes over.
If you feel it’s too boring just to say never, use this idiom instead. Once again, it describes how hot the hell is and how impossible for it to freeze over. Here is how you can use it in your dialogue:
He asked me when I’ll call him back, and you know what I said? Yeah, right. When the hell freezes over.
I will never EVER talk to her again. I hope that the next time I see her will be when hell freezes over.
- As pure as the driven snow.
This phrase is often used to describe people or things that are innocent and clean. You can use it when you want to say that someone is naive or doesn’t know anything about something terrible. For example:
She is as pure as the driven snow and knows nothing about drugs.
He is so pure that he can’t even watch a movie with violence in it.
Bonus! 8 popular weather-related idioms and their meanings
There are much more weather conditions than just hot and cold. Therefore, there are various idioms related to them. And once again, they can have literal and figurative meanings, so it is essential to learn them all to fit in the context. So please, you are welcome – check out the fifteen best weather idioms for different topics.
- It’s raining cats and dogs.
Probably, one of the most widespread English idioms in the world. You can hear it from natives, in your favorite TV shows and songs, and in hundreds of other situations. The meaning is simple – just use it to describe hefty rain. For example:
Please don’t forget the umbrella! It’s raining cats and dogs out there.
Our flight has been delayed since it’s raining cats and dogs.
- The calm before the storm.
This phrase is mainly used to describe the feeling you have before something terrible is about to happen. It can be a fight, an exam, or any other stressful situation in your life. The idiom is often used when people want to warn others about the danger. For example:
Don’t let her fool you with her sweet talk. It’s just the calm before the storm.
He was untypically polite, but I realized it was the calm before the storm.
- Sweater weather.
Have you heard this infamous The Neighborhood song? Its title is actually a famous idiom that describes that cold time of the year (usually autumn or winter) when all you need is to wear an oversized warm sweater. For example:
I thought it was still warm, but it looks like it’s already sweater weather.
I am waiting for sweater weather since I hate when it’s hot.
- To have one’s head in the cloud.
Head in the clouds, but my gravity centered… Sorry, we are still listening to The Neighborhood. And we noticed another great weather-related idiom! To have the head in the clouds means to dream about something, almost losing the connection with reality. For example:
He is always daydreaming and has his head in the clouds.
She is so lost in her thoughts that she has her head in the clouds.
- A storm in a teacup.
It’s a great idiom to describe a big problem that is not a big problem. It happens when people overreact and make a drama out of something small. For example:
She broke her nail and made such a storm in a teacup about it!
He lost his phone, and it was such a storm in a teacup!
- To save for a rainy day.
No matter how much you have in your savings account, it’s always a good idea to set aside some money for a rainy day. An emergency fund can help you cover unexpected expenses, like a car repair or a medical bill, without going into debt. And this is the main point of this idiom. For example:
I know you want to spend all your money now, but saving for a rainy day is better.
I am happy that I can help you. And don’t worry about the money – it was just a small fund I saved for a rainy day.
- When it rains, it pours.
This phrase is mainly used to describe a period of bad luck. When everything goes wrong, it seems like the universe is against you. For example:
My car broke down, I got fired, and my girlfriend left me. It’s raining, so when it rains, it pours!
Bad things continue to happen to me every day. My sister was right – when it rains, it pours.
- Every cloud has a silver lining.
No matter how dark and scary the clouds might be, there is always a silver lining – an excellent side to every situation. This idiom is used to encourage people facing difficulties in their lives. For example:
I know that you failed your exams, but don’t worry. Every cloud has a silver lining. You will pass next time.
Her boyfriend cheated on her, but she realized it was for the best. And now she is grateful for what happened because every cloud has a silver lining.
Promova – the best solution for learning the weather idioms
Whether you like to study alone or prefer a company, Promova is the best language-learning platform you can imagine. You can learn a new language in just minutes a day with fun and pleasure. Promova offers personal lessons with professional tutors for those who prefer one-on-one sessions. If you like company, join a group class or a free English Conversation Club.
Promova mobile application is waiting for English learners who want to study alone. If it’s you, don’t hesitate and install it now. You’ll have access to many resources, including dictionary definitions, example sentences, audio pronunciations, image galleries, and more. You can learn more exciting weather idioms, track your progress, and earn rewards.
Now you know enough weather idioms for small talk and office conversations. They will help you to feel more confident talking to the natives, say more in fewer words, and express your thoughts better. We hope that you’ll find this article helpful, and we will be happy to see your weather-related idioms in the comments section!
What is a weather idiom?
The Oxford Dictionary defines an idiom as a group of words established by usage as having a meaning not deducible from those of the individual words (e.g., over the moon, see the light). And a weather idiom is an expression that describes the weather or a meteorological phenomenon using figurative language.
What are some common weather idioms?
Some common weather idioms include “It’s raining cats and dogs,” “When it rains, it pours,” “Once in a blue moon,” “Calm before the storm,” “To take a rain check,” and “To feel under the weather.” Most of them have figurative meanings, but some (like raining cats and dogs) are literally describing the weather.
What is the best way to learn weather idioms?
To remember the idiom, you need to understand it first. So, the best way to learn weather idioms is to find the context you should use them. Also, you can check the history behind the expression – it is a great way to learn its origins and remember it faster. If you want to learn them alone, you can install a convenient mobile application like Promova. And if you need help, find an experienced tutor who will be happy to help you.
Why is it essential to learn weather idioms?
First, the weather is an excellent topic for small talk and a perfect icebreaker. So, the main reason for learning such idioms is to communicate efficiently with strangers and start conversations in a company. Also, it is a great way to strengthen your speaking skills, boost your confidence, and become more fluent in English.