Word Nerd: 6 Wintry Phrases You Can Use All Round the Year

26 Dec


Courtesy: Royal Society of Chemistry

Winter is not only coming, it is well & truly here. If not in the Game of Thrones, at least in the northern hemisphere. For Monsoon, we did a piece on how weather is a great source of creative inspiration in literature. So, for this week’s Word Nerd, we will look at 6 idiomatic phrases which all refer to the wintry weather. That shouldn’t stop you from using them all through the year.

1. Put it on ice – To put something away for later
A nice phrase for procrastinators. This is not the same as “putting someone on ice” or “icing someone.” The latter phrases imply murderous intent and are commonly used in the US.
To put it on ice is inspired by freezing. Food was put away and refrigerated only to be consumed later.

2. A snowball’s chance in hell – No reasonable hope
Hell is generally perceived as fire and brimstone, barring a few exceptions. It stands to imagination, then, that snowballs have little chance of surviving there.  And this is what the idiom means. According to Idiomation, the phrase is generally used in extreme political contexts. But feel free to improvise!

3. Cold hands & a warm heart – Not showing feeling does not mean a lack of feeling
According to the Cambridge dictionary, this is also said to save someone from embarrassment if they have cold hands, literally or figuratively. However, Yale University researchers have proved this to be a myth. Their studies show that the warmer you are physically, the nicer you are to others.

4. Cold comfort – Poor or inadequate sympathy, consolation or encouragement
For instance, knowing that another student flunked with the same marks as you is cold comfort. The phrase has been in common use for centuries. Shakespeare used it in several works, including ‘The Taming of the Shrew.’

5. Blow hot and cold – To behave inconsistently
The expression is said to have come from one of Aesop’s fables, in which a Satyr dining with a man saw him blow on his hands to warm them, and then on his soup to cool it. The Satyr broke their friendship stating that anyone who could blow hot and cold from one mouth was untrustworthy.

6. As pure as the driven snow – Entirely pure
Snow that blows in drifts is untrodden and therefore serves its metaphorical uses. Shakespeare, with his frequent association of snow and purity, contributed to the popularity of this simile.

Any other weather and winter sayings you would like to share with us? Feel free to leave a comment below or email us.
Read previous #WordNerd posts here.

By: Skendha Singh

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