Weather idioms

weather, idioms, language learning

What’s the weather like where you are?

Us humans seem to be obsessed with the weather! It’s a common way to start a conversation, a familiar thing to complain about when it’s bad and one of our favourite things to celebrate when it’s going our way. In this post, as we move into a new season, we’ll look at our obsession with weather and discuss some common weather Idioms in English.

Weather as an icebreaker

We’ve all been there, we arrive at the office or a cafe and don’t know exactly what to say to a colleague or family friend. We don’t want to sit there in silence…  so what do we talk about? The weather of course: ‘Nice day, isn’t it?’, ‘So cold out there today.’ or ‘Gosh, the rain today!’. It helps to break the ice and move us onto other topics of conversation.

Changing weather

But sometimes weather is a lot more serious than this. There is a lot of strong evidence to suggest that carbon emissions from human activity are having a serious effect on the weather and may be leading to more severe storms, droughts and flooding in some parts of the world. This is having a devastating effect for many people living in the areas worst affected, causing widespread damage to land and infrastructure and in some cases, tragic loss of life.

A ray of sunshine

Despite all the terrible things that bad weather can do, good weather is also an obsession for many. One of the first things that we talk about after a holiday is what the weather was like, whether it was sunny, how hot it was, whether there was enough snow for skiing. And nothing seems to brighten the mood in the busuu office like a warm sunny day here in London.

Weather influencing language

With all of this focus on weather, both positive and negative, and the massive impact that it can have on our lives, it’s no surprise that weather influences language. In English there are a lot of idioms that use weather related phrases, take a look at these five:
1. Every cloud has a silver lining.
2. Make hay while the sun shines.
3. A storm in a teacup.
4. It’s raining cats and dogs.
5. To be on cloud nine.

Do you know what these phrases mean? Do you know any similar expressions in other languages that you speak?

Learn more with busuu!

32 thoughts on “Weather idioms

  1. keith gardiner

    Us humans ….!!!

    It’s the subject of the sentence so should be:

    We humans …..

    After all, if you take out “humans” you wouldn’t say “Us … seem to be obsessed with the weather.”

    Kind regards,
    Keith

  2. Cris

    Numbers 1 and 5, I don’t know what is meant by those. I tried to translate in into properly English this saying we’ve got in Flanders (Belgium)
    “When the sun is shining and it’s raining, it’s fair in the Hell”.

    BTW: A question to the team: Why has the Busuu office moved from Madrid to London, was the sun shining to hot? :))

    Chris.

  3. 39jeanne

    ‘Us humans’ is incorrect. It should be ‘we humans’. Why spoil an interesting post, especially on a language site, with a slang expression?

  4. Chela

    Hi, I’m Mexican and my dad was Catalan, and I know many native Spanish speakers from several countries. (Mexico, Spain, Argentina, Colombia, Venezuela, Guatemala, Peru) in most countries, when it’s raining cats and dogs, we say “está lloviendo a cántaros” a cántaro is an old-fashioned word for a pottery jug, so it would mean to be “pouring” rain rather than rain that falls drop by drop. When it drizzles, in Mexico we say “está chispeando”. In Colombia, drizzle is called “moja bobos”, (a “bobo” is a fool, and so it’s the kind of rain that gets fools wet, because they thought it wasn’t really raining that hard and wouldn’t use an umbrella or find some shelter. Here are two links with expressions most commonly used in Spain (I hadn’t heard the Spanish expression “está lloviendo chuzos de punta”):
    http://www.tiempo.com/ram/912/la-meteorologa-en-los-modismos-y-frases-hechas-del-lenguaje-diario/

  5. Chela

    A storm in a teacup: in Spanish, we don’t use the word teacup, but do use “glass of water” for “una tormenta en un vaso de agua”
    We don’t have the expression “every cloud has a silver lining” but have this expression with a similar meaning:”no hay mal que por bien no venga” (there isn’t a bad thing that doesn’t bring a good one).
    We aren’t exactly on “cloud nine” but do say “estar en las nubes” (to be among the clouds)
    We also say “ves la tempestad y no te hincas” (you see the storm coming and won’t kneel, meaning, literally, you won’t pray, or it can also mean you won’t try to do something about a problem you see coming)

  6. Galina Manirova

    A big thank for the useful and interesting information! The feedback of such kind motivates the people to continue the learning of English. By the way in Russian there are the same weather related expressions, exept the phrase number 1.
    Kind Regards, Galina Manirova.

  7. kiss judith

    Hello!!!! Beach holydays: We love to swim in the sea:BALATON . Go for a walk my friend along the seashove. I need new swimming costüme.:a nice bikini. and nice flip-flops on the walk. Í live THE DIWING AND SNORKEL. / Hurhgada, by Phillippines, Bali,Maladiven. /I would really like to go thailand.

  8. Natali Drosou

    Thanks! In Greece there is a phrase similar to nr 4 but instead of “cats and dogs” we say “it’s raining chair-legs” haha (Βρέχει καρεκλοπόδαρα) Best regards, Natali

  9. Fabia Alves Post author

    Hi Chela,

    Thanks a lot for your comment. It’s nice of you to share that information with the community!

    Ciao for now,
    Fabia

  10. Fabia Alves Post author

    Indeed they are yahia!

    We hope you enjoy learning with busuu ;)

    Ciao for now,
    Fabia

  11. Nielza Lopes

    Hello, everyone!

    In my country we are this expression “A storm in a teacup”, but in Portugues you say “Fazer uma tempestade em um copo d’água”, and It’s means when someane became a little thing in a big thing.

  12. Anna

    Thank you for interesting information. I know all these expressions about weather in English and it was good to compare them with my mother tongue. In Russia we say “a storm in a glass of water”, for “make hay…” we use “Make iron while the iron is hot”, instead of “it’s raining cats …” Russian people use the expression “It’s being poured from a bucket”. Well, I cannot remember any similar saying to “Every cloud…”, but I think that “to be on cloud nine” in our laguage means ” to fly among clouds”.

  13. Fabia Alves Post author

    Hi Anna,

    Thank you so much for sharing this information with all our blog community. Really interesting to know.

    Ciao for now,
    Fabia

  14. Fabia Alves Post author

    Hi Nielza,

    Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us :)
    We hope you enjoy learning with us!

    Ciao for now,
    Fabia

  15. Fabia Alves Post author

    Hi Chela,

    This is great! Thanks a lot for sharing this with all of us :)

    We hope you enjoy learning with busuu!

    Ciao for now,
    Fabia

  16. Fabia Alves Post author

    Hi 39jeanne,

    Thank you for sharing your opinion with us.
    We do take a more informal approach when writing on our blog.

    Best,
    Fabia

  17. Fabia Alves Post author

    Hi Cris,

    Thank you for your question.
    Number 1 – Every cloud has a silver lining, means that after a difficult time good better days will come.
    Number 5 – To be on cloud nine, means you are extremely happy :)

    We hope this helps.

    Ciao for now,
    Fabia

  18. Fabia Alves Post author

    Hello Joyce,

    Thank you for your question.
    Number 1 – Every cloud has a silver lining, means that after a difficult time good better days will come.
    Number 2- Make the hay while the sun shines, means make the most of one’s opportunities while you have the chance.
    Number 3 – A storm in a teacup, means a lot of unnecessary anger and worry about a matter that is not important.
    Number 4 – It’s raining cats and dogs, it’s used when it’s raining very heavily.
    Number 5 – To be on cloud nine, means you are extremely happy :)

    We hope this helps.

    Ciao for now,
    Fabia

    We hope this helps.

    Ciao for now,
    Fabia

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