Learn how to talk about winter weather in English with useful words and phrases on the list below.
How to Talk About Winter Weather
Winter Weather Vocabulary
- Black ice
Meaning: a very thin coating of ice found on roads and sidewalks that is difficult to see, and therefore quite dangerous.
Example: Irina said that the black ice on her street caused 3 car accidents.
- Cold snap
Meaning: a sudden arrival of cold weather
Example: Emily wasn’t prepared for the cold snap – all of her coats were still in storage.
- To hibernate
Meaning: to sleep through the winter in order to reserve energy
Example: Whenever December arrives, I just want to hibernate like a bear until spring!
- Snow drift
Meaning: a deep pile of snow that builds up because of wind
Example: I couldn’t see my car because of the giant snow drift outside the window.
- To be snowbound
Meaning: to be stranded or unable to leave a place because of heavy snowfall.
Example: We were snowbound at the ski chalet for the whole weekend.
Meaning: the amount of snow that comes down within a period of time
Example: What was the average snowfall over the country in the last storm?
Meaning: to be unable to tell the difference between things because of an overabundance of snow
Example: After the whiteout, looking outside was like looking at a sheet of paper.
Winter Weather Idioms
1. A snowball’s chance in hell
Meaning: To be very unlikely to succeed at something
Example: The small boat had a snowball’s chance in hell of surviving the storm.
2. Dead of winter
Meaning: The coldest, darkest part of winter
Example: It feels like the dead of winter out there.
3. To be on thin ice
Meaning: To be in a risky situation
Example: If you keep asking him about his ex-girlfriend, you’ll be on thin ice.
4. Pure as the driven snow
Meaning: To be innocent and chaste (frequently used ironically)
Example: I never thought Madonna was pure as the driven snow, but the book she wrote is crazy!
5. To break the ice
Meaning: To create a more friendly and relaxed atmosphere
Example: Charmaine was great at breaking the ice, she always knows what to say to people.
6. To run hot and cold
Meaning: To be unable to make up one’s mind
Example: Alexi’s feelings about her run hot and cold, one minute he loves her, and the next, he’s bored of her.
7. The snowball effect
Meaning: When something small keeps growing in importance or significance
Example: Despacito’s popularity was such a snowball effect.
8. Put something on ice
Meaning: To stop doing something
Example: Herbert is going to put the project on ice until he gets a response from his supervisor.
9. Snowed under
Meaning: To be overwhelmed, usually with responsibilities
Example: I’m sorry I can’t go to the party tonight, I’m snowed under with homework.