How to Talk About Winter Weather in English

Useful Words and Phrases to Talk About Cold Weather...

Winter Vocabulary Words in English:

  • 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.

  • Snowfall 

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?

  • Whiteout

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 Idioms in English:

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.

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