Wintry weather idioms

English people have a reputation for talking about the weather. At this time of year, there is a lot to say about ice, snow and cold, windy weather. Here are some wintry weather idioms and their meanings.

1. To be skating on thin ice

To be doing something that is dangerous or which could have negative consequences. He’s skating on thin ice by lying about the status of the project in the meeting. People just need to ask a few important questions and then everyone will know that he hasn’t been doing any work.

2. A snowball effect

A situation which gains momentum or where something increases in size or impact.
I started off making bags to sell to friends in my spare time. However my friends told their friends and within a couple of months, I had a full-time business. It was a kind of snowball effect.

3. To be snowed under

To have so much to do that you can’t take on anything else.
I was invited to lunch on Friday but I’m snowed under at work. I barely have time for a sandwich at the moment.

4. Every cloud has a silver lining

Even if a situation looks bad, something good will come out of it.
We had left it too late to book the office Christmas party. The venue that we wanted was already fully booked. However we then discovered a new restaurant that nobody had heard of before and the event was a success. Every cloud has a silver lining!

5. To get wind of something

To learn about something, even though it was supposed to be a secret.
This information is confidential. We don’t want our competitors to get wind of it before the plans are finalised or they may steal the good idea.

6. To have a face like thunder

To have a facial expression that shows that you are very angry.
I wanted to ask my manager for some time off, but she had a face like thunder when she came out of her last meeting. I decided it wasn’t the best time to ask.

7. To throw caution to the wind

This means that someone is taking a big risk.
I knew that we could suffer financial losses if the product didn’t sell. However I was so convinced it would be a success that I threw caution to the wind and had 1000 of them produced.

Christmas tree in Stockholm

Author: Kirsty Wolf

I am an English teacher and a language enthusiast who also speaks German and Romanian. I help motivated professionals to improve their English so that they can communicate confidently and authentically.

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