Idioms about the weather

We’ve been having some fairly extreme weather lately. Here are some English idioms related to weather with an explanation of what they mean:

to feel under the weather

This means to feel unwell.

Example: Isn’t Jackie coming to the cinema? No, she’s feeling a bit under the weather, so she decided to stay at home.

fair-weather friend

Fair weather is the term used by sailors to talk about good weather, so a “fair-weather friend” is someone who is only around when things are going well – they aren’t there to support you in difficult situations.

Example: When I lost my job and got evicted from my flat, I found out that Chris is just a fair-weather friend. He wasn’t interested in helping at all.

it never rains but it pours

To “pour” is to rain heavily, so the literal meaning of the idiom is “If it rains, it always rains heavily”. This is used to talk about a situation where various bad things happen at once.

Example: First I forgot to set my alarm clock, then my car wouldn’t start, so I had to get the bus, which was late, of course. I arrived at work an hour and a half late. It never rains but it pours.

come rain or shine

This means whatever the weather or whatever the circumstances.

Example 1: She always walks to work, come rain or shine.

Example 2: Alicia is always cheerful, come rain or shine.

to save for a rainy day

This means to save money for when it might be needed in the future.

Example: I won £100 on the lottery, but I don’t want to spend it now. I’ll save it for a rainy day.

to get wind of something

This means to find out about something, usually a secret or something that not many people know about. It refers to animals that notice smells carried by the wind before the thing producing the smell is visible.

Example: When Anoushka got wind of the fact that the sales director was leaving the company, she applied for the job straight away.

snowed under

To be snowed under means to have a lot of work or other things to do.

Example: I’m afraid I can’t come over for lunch on Sunday. I’m snowed under and I’ll have to work all weekend to catch up.


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