If you are learning English and have any experience with British people you will know that they like to talk about the weather a lot. There are lots of jokes about how British and English people enjoy talking about the weather and moaning about it too! So we thought it would be a good time to write a blog post about some useful words British people use to talk about colder weather. While Summer in the UK is often not as long or hot as many other places in the world it is still something people look forward too and something people are often unhappy when it is over. It is now nearly October and Autumn is here and things are getting colder!
Chilly – This is a common word that simply means cold. It is used in many different situations and can be used in formal or informal settings. “It is very chilly today” – Someone would say this to another person to say it is cold. Chilly is used to describe cold but not extreme cold. Chilly can also be used in a building or home to say it is a little bit cold.
Freezing – “It’s freezing out there!” This term is used to describe a more intense cold. The word actually means when a liquid turns to a solid – water into ice, but as with many British words, this one is overstated to make a point. In many cases, it may not actually be “freezing” but people use the term to explain it is very cold. Someone may walk into a room and say “I’m frozen” – they do not mean they are literally turning to ice, but they are telling you they feel very cold.
Pouring – It often rains in the UK and there are a lot of different words for rain commonly used by people. “It’s pouring out there” is a very common way to talk about how much it is raining and can be used in any situation. This term is actually common in American English too. It can be used in conjunction with the word down “it’s pouring down” or just on its own. There is a traditional children’s rhyme that uses this term:
“it’s raining it’s pouring, the old man is snoring, he went to be and bumped his head and couldn’t get up in the morning”
Chucking it down – This is a term more associated with friends and family. It is not a formal term but means it is raining a lot. Someone may walk into a pub and say “it’s chucking it down out there”. This would mean there is a lot of rain and not just a small amount.
Drizzle – This is a very common word for light rain. Drizzle is light, fine, small droplets of rain and can get you quite wet if you stay out in it. People may use this to say it’s not raining very much Person A – “It’s pouring out there” Person B – “no it isn’t, its only drizzles” This could be a normal disagreement about how much it is raining.
Blowing a Gale – A gale is a strong wind over around 40 mph. If it feels very windy, people may say “It’s blowing a gale out there”. They may not know how fast the wind speed is but may just use this term to explain there is a strong wind.
If you are learning English for work, travel or to move to an English speaking country some of these words may be very useful, especially if you are planning to visit the UK!