The weather gives us something to talk about

As I opened up the curtains this morning and saw a torrential downpour of rain with a chill in the air, it seemed as though I had overslept through my alarm into mid-October! The thermostat in my hallway read 13 degrees, which is a good 10 degrees lower than what I would like it to be at this time of the year. Off I went with my rain jacket, wellie boots and baseball cap out into the rain to walk the dog who did not seem to care less about the puddle the size of a river that we had to hop over to get into the car. In case you didn’t realise, the English love to talk about the weather; in fact, we are quite famous for it. Why downplay the stereotype when you can just live up to it?!

Extreme weather is nothing new in this country and neither is our erratic behaviour with the changing weather moods. If it rains, we immediately pull out our array of umbrellas, wellies and rain jackets; if it’s sunny, we head straight to any outdoor parkland and strip off into our underwear to soak up as many rays as we can before the sun returns into hibernation. All this made me wonder – is the weather in this country just like this to give us something to talk about?!

It seems that the English enjoy talking about the weather so much that we have even created vocabulary to mimic our interest so that we can include it in even more conversations! Here is my guide to some English weather idioms:


Raining cats and dogs

To be raining heavily – “Good job I took my umbrella with me today, it’s raining cats and dogs out there now!”


Under the weather

To not be feeling very well – “Alice was feeling a bit under the weather today so she stayed at home to rest.”


A storm in a teacup

To make a huge fuss over something small or not very important – “Frank left his boots in the hallway and his wife made a storm in a teacup because they were in her way.”


Blow hot and cold

To keep changing your mood about something – “Harry wasn’t sure if he wanted to go hiking this weekend, he was blowing hot and cold about the topic.”


Come rain or shine

Whatever happens – “Come rain or shine, I always go to yoga on Wednesdays.”


The calm before the storm

A quiet time before a very busy or difficult period – “Between lunch time and dinner time is often the calm before the storm of a busy restaurant.”


Save up for a rainy day

To save money for a time which it might be needed unexpectedly – “Jill had been saving for a rainy day and that was good news when her car broke down and she needed to pay for the repairs.”


Steal someone’s thunder

To become the centre of attention on someone else’s big day – “Rachel announced that she was pregnant at her friend’s engagement party and totally stole her thunder.”


The heavens open

It suddenly starts to rain heavily – “As Phoebe came out of the tube the heavens opened and she ran to the nearest bus stop to get under cover.”


Take a rain check

To postpone something – “Jacob could not get out of work on time to meet Kellie at the movies so he had to take a rain check.”


To weather the storm

To make it through a tricky situation – “Peter had a tough time when he was made redundant but he weathered the storm and found another job quickly.”


To rain on your parade

To do something that spoils someone else’s plans – “Sorry to rain on your parade but the park is about to close.”


Chase rainbows

To pursue an illusory goal / dream – “Ivy went to Hollywood chasing rainbows to become a movie star.”


Snowed under

To have too many things to do (usually work) – “Keri called to say she won’t make it home for dinner as she’s completely snowed under at the office.”


On cloud nine

To be extremely happy about something – “We just got engaged and I’m on cloud nine!”


Once in a blue moon

Something that does not happen very often – “Once in a blue moon I treat myself to a meal in a fancy restaurant.”


Breaking the ice

To make people who do not know each other well feel more comfortable around each other – “Marie suggested that the new team members go out for a coffee to break the ice after their first day.”


It never rains but it pours

When something bad happens followed by several other bad things – “Edward lost his wallet and then his car was stolen with all of his university notes inside – it never rains but it pours!”


A breeze

Something that is easy to achieve – “Melanie passed her exams with flying colours – she said they were a breeze!”


To have your head in the clouds

To be living in a fantasy and not know the facts of a situation – “Clementine believed that everyone always recycles – she must have her head in the clouds.”


Throw caution to the wind

To do something without worrying about the risk or negative results – “Simon threw caution to the wind and went for a midnight dip in the lake.”


Put something on ice

To put something on hold – “Lola wanted to travel the world but just got a promotion at work so she put her plans on ice for another year.”


There are so many English weather idioms I could go on and on and shower you with more examples (!) I wonder how many you can fit into one paragraph? Here’s my best attempt:

When visiting London, it is best to take an umbrella because more than once in a blue moon, the heavens open and it rains cats and dogs.  If you’re staying away from home, and feeling a bit under the weather, take a rain check on staying at a hotel and chose a private accommodation that is a breeze to book and come rain or shine you can be sure to feel comfortable and welcomed in your own personal London address. Beat the calm before the storm and have a late lunch / early dinner at one of the many pre-theatre menus available across the city. Throw caution to the wind, spend those pennies that you have saved for a rainy day and treat yourself to a famous West End show. Don’t put it on ice for the next time in case you get snowed under and don’t make it back!

If you know of any other weather idioms that I’ve missed, Tweet us @StayMerino with your suggestions!


by Louise Carr-Merino

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