For instance, I have a mountain of paperwork to do doesn’t mean that there is an actual mountain of paperwork, it simply means that you have lots of work to do.
Idioms can be tricky, but they can also be fun.
Today we will be looking at weather idioms. In each case, I have provided an explanation of what the idiom means. I have also provided sample sentences to show how the idioms can be used in context.
General weather idioms
- To be under the weather: to be ill or to be suffering from a hangover
I was feeling under the weather this morning so I did not go to work.
- A fair-weather friend: a person who is only a friend when the situation suits him or her
I regarded Claude as a close friend, but what a fair-weather friend he turned out to be. He did not visit me once while I was in hospital.
- To make heavy weather of something: to make something more difficult than it needs to be
Despite support from the public for the amendment to the education bill, the government is making heavy weather of passing it.
- Lovely weather for ducks: an expression used when someone is complaining about the weather, but is trying to be positive
It had been raining all night so it was lovely weather for ducks but treacherous for cyclists.
- To weather a storm: to be able to carry on doing something despite the difficulties encountered
We are all trying to weather the storm at work since the manager was found guilty of fraud. Although he was the only person involved, clients have lost confidence in the company.
Idioms about rain
- It’s raining cats and dogs: an expression that is used when it is raining extremely hard
I’d love to go for a run now, but it’s raining cats and dogs, so it might not be such a good idea.
- To save for a rainy day: to put things such as money aside to use at a later stage, such as during a time of real need
I never spend my entire salary as I’m saving for a rainy day. Who knows, what awaits us in the years ahead.
- To be as right at rain: to be healthy again after being injured or sick David broke is leg in a cycling accident a few months ago, but he is now as right as rain. He is competing in the cross-country championships next week.
- It never rains but it pours: good or bad things never happen in isolation but frequently, and all at once
It never rains but it pores. First the geyser overflowed, then the washing machine broke down. Now someone pranged my car.
- To take a rain check: an expression used when someone has to turn down an offer to do something in the hope that the offer will be made again in the future
I’d really love to go hiking with you this weekend, but it’s my father’s sixtieth birthday so I will have to take a rain check.
Idioms about wind
- In the eye of the wind: in the direction from which the wind is coming
The marathon was tough. During the first half, we were running in the eye of the wind.
- To go where the wind blows: to do something without planning or preparation
Let’s not follow a specific route on our holiday: let’s get into the car and go where the wind blows.
- A candle in the wind: an expression used to describe something that is likely to fail or be crushed
The workers’ attempt at negotiating with management for improved working conditions is just a candle in the wind. Management is unlikely to listen.
- To get a second wind: to experience renewed energy after a very long period of fatigue
I was feeling really exhausted and finding it so hard to study, but I got a second wind after supper and managed to finish everything for tomorrow’s exam.
- The winds of change: an expression that refers to a series of events that has started to happen and will cause important changes or results
There are winds of change blowing in Southern Africa as people are demanding an end to ineffective rule by their governments.
Idioms about the sun
To make hay while the sun shines: to make the most of an opportunity when it is available While we are all together, let’s make hay while the sun shines and decide how we are going to reduce departmental spending in the next financial year.
- A place in the sun: to have a job or situation with which you can be happy because you have everything you want
I am happy with my place in the sun because I have my health, wealth and happiness. What more could I want?
- Never let the sun go down on your anger: never go to sleep angry without making amends with the person with whom you’ve had an argument or a disagreement
I know you had a major disagreement with your father and that you are mad with him, but you should never let the sun go down on your anger. Go and talk to him and resolve the issue.
- Your moment in the sun: a short period during which you were particularly successful, compared to other times in your life that were unremarkable
I had my time in the sun early in my career when I ran a successful photographic business, but things have changed since the digital age.
- Someone’s sun is set: the time when a person’s prosperity is over The CEO had an excellent career but her sun has now set as younger people are coming up through the ranks of the company.
Idioms about clouds
- Every cloud has a silver lining: it is possible for something good to come out of a bad situation
I know you are upset about being a reserve for the team, but every cloud has a silver lining. You can still have fun touring with the team and you will almost certainly get a chance to play.
- To be on cloud nine: to be extremely happy about something
Every since Javier got the job of his dreams, he has been on cloud nine.
- Storm clouds are gathering: trouble is coming
Storm clouds have been gathering ever since the disagreement between Xabu and his manager.
- Under a cloud: to be viewed with distrust and suspicion for doing something dishonest
John has been under a cloud of suspicion ever since the money disappeared from the till while he was in charge.
- To have your head in the clouds: when someone is impractical and is not applying themselves to a particular situation
I am really annoyed at Isabella. We are all working very hard, but she has her head in the clouds thinking about her wedding.
Idioms about storms
- A storm is brewing: an expression used to describe trouble or emotional upset that is about to happen
My mother looks furious. A storm is definitely brewing.
A storm in a teacup: a reaction that is out of proportion to the trivial situation being faced
My father is making such a storm in a teacup over the fact that I came home 15 minutes later than I originally said I would.
- The calm before the storm: an expression used to describe a quiet period before something chaotic happens
The shop may be quiet now, but this is just the calm before the storm. During the holiday season, it will be extremely busy.
- To steal someone’s thunder: when someone does something to stop the appropriate person from getting attention or praise, often by doing something better or more exciting
Our competitors are launching their new product on Friday. We plan to steal their thunder by launching ours the day before.
- To storm off: to leave angrily
I can see you are angry but don’t just storm off before telling me why you are.