If you are living in or visiting the UK, the weather is a tried and tested topic for small talk. Brits famously love to talk about (and often complain about!) the weather. In today’s blog post, we’ll explore useful phrases, adjectives, general vocabulary and idioms to talk about the weather so that you’ll never be lost for words when making conversation.
Basic adjectives to describe the weather
Some words for answering the question: How is the weather today? Or How is the weather in xx place?
It’s freezing! (very cold)
It’s boiling! (very hot)
It’s breezy./There is a light breeze
There are some light showers.
It is + ing
We use the present continuous tense to talk about an action happening at the moment of speaking, and we can also use this tense to describe the weather. Remember, in English we always need a subject for our sentence, so to talk about the weather use the subject ‘it’.
Some ways of answering How is the weather right now? Or What is the weather doing now?
It is raining.
It is snowing.
It is hailing.
It is spitting. (for a light rain)
It is drizzling. (also for a light rain)
It is brightening up. Or It is clearing up.
Extreme weather words
Hurricane, tornado, storm, thunder and lightning.
Torrential rain – describes very strong and heavy rain.
Drought – this describes a long period without rain. Everything becomes very dry.
Blustery/Blustering – to describe strong winds.
Sweltering/Scorching – to describe extreme heat or heat waves.
Fun phrases and idioms to talk about the weather
It’s raining cats and dogs
This phrase is often one of the first English idioms that students learn. It’s raining cats and dogs means that it is raining very hard and very heavily.
Chucking it down/ Pouring it down.
Use this informal phrase to describe very heavy rain.
Lovely weather for ducks!
Is it any surprise that British people have so many phrases to talk about the rain? This is another informal phrase to talk about heavy rain.
It’s blowing a hoolie!
You’re more likely to hear this phrase in Scotland than other parts of the UK. If there’s a very strong wind and the weather is stormy, people may remark that “it’s blowing a hoolie out there!” According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word ‘hoolie’ comes from the Orkney Scots word hoolan (strong gale).
More weather idioms
There are some weather idioms that we use which don’t actually describe the weather. For example, did you know that if you are feeling under the weather it means you are sick? Whereas if you are feeling right as rain it means that you are well and healthy! Learn more of these fun and useful weather idioms in our video blog post right here, or watch Kate R’s video lesson on this topic on YouTube.
What is the weather like where you are today? What is your favourite type of weather, and why? Do you have any weather idioms in your native language? Let us know in the comments!