Lights Camera English!

Take 11: Weather Idioms

People often ask me if it’s true that British people always talk about the weather.

Yes it is. We do.

But it’s not because we’re obsessed… okay, it’s not only because we’re obsessed.

It’s also because UK weather is a good topic. It’s totally unpredictable and always changing! I can’t imagine people in Australia having a very long conversation about the weather:

“Sunny again.”


But in the UK, you can be battling hurricane-force winds and pelting rain on Saturday, and applying sunscreen at the barbecue on Sunday! Of course we’re going to talk about it—it’s exciting!

Apparently, Brits spend up to two hours a week complaining about the weather. It’s either too hot, too wet, too windy, too cold, or too humid. If it snows, the whole nation comes to a standstill; schools close, motorways pile up with traffic, and airplanes are grounded. So we spend the whole winter praying that it won’t snow… except for Christmas day; there must be snow on Christmas day!

But Brits don’t just use the weather as a topic for complaining. We also use it to break the ice (pun intended). A common conversation at a bus stop might be:

“Cold, isn’t it?”

“Coldest day so far this year.”

“It feels like it. There’s snow forecast for tomorrow.”

“Snow? Wouldn’t surprise me. It snowed this time last year.”

“Oh that’s right. It was very cold last year.”

“Very cold. But not as damp.”

“No. It’s so damp this year, and the wind!”

“Oh, don’t get me started on the wind!”

… New best friends!


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