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15 English Weather Idioms

7 min read
8 December 2020
student with an umbrella under the rain in london

Whether you like it or not, the weather is a popular topic of conversation for many English-speakers. Talking about the weather is a great conversation starter. Though it's common to speak about the weather in the majority of countries, this is especially true for the United Kingdom where the weather is very changeable.

The English language has a large vocabulary for talking about the weather and a wide range of idioms. Discover how you can use speak about the weather in everyday conversation using the fun list of idioms below. Remember - if you’re ever planning a trip to the UK, it’s best you learn all the rain ones first! Save the sun idioms for a trip to Australia or California.


1. It's raining cats and dogs

Typically used when it is raining heavily outside, during a heavy period of rainfall or during a storm.

Example: “Do not forget your umbrella before you go outside. It is raining cats and dogs!”


2. Every cloud has a silver lining

To be optimistic and hope that something good can come out of a bad situation.

Example: "I'm not going on holiday this year, but every cloud has a silver lining, as I'm able to spend more time with my family at home."

students in front of school
Test out these fun idioms with your friends or even strangers when traveling!


3. Head in the clouds

Used to describe someone being overly-optimistic about a situation or to have unrealistic ideas about something.

Example: “Mike thinks he is going to pass his exams without studying. He has his head in the clouds!”


4. Snowed under

When you have too much work to do or to have a lot of things to deal with at once. 

Example: “Mike is snowed under with work. He cannot come and watch the game with us tonight.”


5. Under the weather

To describe feeling unwell or minor illnesses that are not life threatening. It can sometimes be used when you feel overly-exhausted after a long day or night.

Example: “Hazel did not come into work today. She was feeling under the weather.”


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6. Cloud nine

If you are on cloud nine, you are extremely happy.

Example: "She has been on cloud nine since getting married."


7. To be a breeze

To be easy or requiring little effort.

Example: "This exam is going to be a breeze."


8. Come rain or shine

To say that something will be done regardless of whatever happens.

Example: "I will play football tonight come rain or shine."


9. The calm before the storm

A brief moment of peace or quiet before a busy or difficult period arrives.

Example: "It's going to get very busy tomorrow. Today is the calm before the storm."



10. Face like thunder

When someone is visibly angry or upset and you can notice the emotion on the person's face.

Example: “You could tell Maria was angry. She had a face like thunder!”


11. Storm in a teacup

Exaggerate a problem.

Example: "I don't think this flu scare is serious. It is a storm in a teacup."


12. Lightning fast

Being very fast. 

Example: "Wow, did you see that man win the race? He was lightning fast!"


13. Chase rainbows

Try to achieve the impossible. 

Example: "I know you want to become a famous footballer but don't chase rainbows! It is very hard and you are just not good enough."


14. To take a rain check

To postpone something. 

Example: "Can we take a rain check on our cinema date? I have too much homework."


15. To steal someone's thunder

To do what someone else was going to do and receive all the praise; or take the attention away from someone else.

Example: "My classmate stole my thunder when he told the teacher that he did all the work on the presentation." 


All of these idioms can be used in conversation and are a great way to memorize vocabulary relating to the weather and seasons. Test them out for yourself with your kids, friends or family. 


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