Here in the Northern Hemisphere, winter is well underway – we’re not exactly snowed in in the UK, but we are expecting a few flakes tonight!
So, seeing as we Brits like to discuss the weather as we go about our daily lives, I’ve put together a collection of winter idioms to continue my series. As with most idioms, however, hardly any of these phrases have anything to do with winter at all!
In case you’re not sure what an idiom is, it’s an expression used to mean something other than the literal meaning of the words. A classic example is Raining cats and dogs.
If you’re interested in word origins, you can click through on some of these winter idioms for a bit of background information.
Escape from the cold
Break into a cold sweat = suddenly become very scared about something
Cold comfort = poor or inadequate consolation
Give someone the cold shoulder = be intentionally unfriendly to someone
Go cold turkey = come off drugs abruptly rather than gradually
Have (or get) cold feet = suffer loss of nerve or confidence
In cold blood = without feeling or mercy
In the cold light of day = think about something clearly, without emotions
Left out in the cold = excluded or ignored
Out cold = completely unconscious
Pour/throw cold water on = be discouraging or negative
Run hot and cold = be unable to make up one’s mind
The big freeze
A freeze on (doing something) = a temporary stop to something
Freeze one’s blood = fill one with feelings of fear or horror
Freeze someone out = isolate someone socially
Freeze someone’s wages = keep someone’s pay at its current level
Freeze up = become anxious and unable to move or speak
Ice, ice, baby
Break the ice = help others feel at ease in a social situation by making conversation
Put something on ice = hold in reserve for future consideration
Skate/walk/be on thin ice = in a risky or dangerous situation
Tip of the iceberg = small perceptible part of a much larger (hidden) problem
Snow is falling
A snowball’s chance in hell = very unlikely to succeed at something
Pure as the driven snow = completely pure and innocent
Snowball effect = when something small keeps growing in importance
Snowed under = overwhelmed with work or responsibilities
Other winter idioms
Add fuel to the fire = cause a bad situation to become worse
As snug as a bug (in a rug) = very cosy and comfortable
Brass monkey weather (also known by a ruder version) = extremely cold
Over to you
Out of all these, my personal favourite is As snug as a bug because it conjures up such a cute image!
How about you? Which of these winter idioms make you feel warm and fuzzy inside? Or have I missed out any sayings that you think should be included here?
(image “Matanuska Glacier” courtesy of CNaene via FreeDigitalPhotos.net)