Saturday, October 28, 2006

Words you should know in my country: England

People laugh at the English for talking about the weather. Our climate is temperate so it is quite gentle -- we don't get violent storms, typhoons, long dry seasons, monsoons or blizzards. But throughout the year, one day can be beautiful sunshine, the next can be pouring with rain. No-one knows what the weather will do next, so we talk about it.

Here are some phrases you can use to talk about the weather:

'It's raining cats and dogs' -- this means it's raining hard. No-one knows why we say this.
'It's throwing / tipping / pissing it down.' -- it's raining.
'It's brass monkeys.' -- it's cold. It's short for a phrase which might be rude but probably isn't. Learn more here.
'It's a bit parky.' -- it's a damp, foggy, cold day.
'It's a bit nippy.' -- it's very cold indeed with a nasty wind that goes through your clothes.
'It's a real pea souper.' -- it's foggy and I can't see much.
'It's a bit muggy.' -- it's humid.
'What a lovely crisp day. -- it's still, dry and sunny with a bit of frost (this is only in our winter).
'What a beautiful day. -- it's not raining; the sun is shining and it's unseasonably warm (in winter) or not as hot as it was yesterday.
'Mother Carey's plucking her chickens / shaking her pillows.' -- it's snowing.

And if you don't know the right words to describe what's happening, try 'I can't believe this weather.' -- whatever it's doing, it will have surprised an English person.


Anonymous Irene said...

That's so true :P My friends are in UK and we always started any conversation about weather. Even my sister who is in Sunderland said the weather is way too unpredictable and she's still trying to get used to it.

4:32 AM  
Blogger 20 something said...


Raining cats and dogs comes from the time when people used to have thatched roofs.

When it rained hard, insects, small mammels etc used to fall out of the roof and into the house. Maybe even the odd cat or dog fell out :)

1:46 PM  
Blogger 20 something said...

But apparently it's nonsense:

I like that theory anyway!

1:48 PM  

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