While it’s only winter for half the world, and even then, it doesn’t snow everywhere, there are still an abundance of words that you can use for the coldest part of the year.
Winter Vocabulary Words in English:
Use these words to help you grow your English vocabulary when talking about winter.
black ice – a very thin coating of ice found on roads and sidewalks that is difficult to see, and therefore quite dangerous
ex: Irina said that the black ice on her street caused 3 car accidents.
cold snap (n.) – a sudden arrival of cold weather
ex: Emily wasn’t prepared for the cold snap – all of her coats were still in storage.
to hibernate (v.) – to sleep through the winter in order to reserve energy
ex: Whenever December arrives, I just want to hibernate like a bear until spring!
snow drift (n.) – a deep pile of snow that builds up because of wind
ex: I couldn’t see my car because of the giant snow drift outside the window.
to be snowbound (v.) – to be stranded or unable to leave a place because of heavy snowfall
ex: We were snowbound at the ski chalet for the whole weekend.
snowfall (n.) – the amount of snow that comes down within a period of time
ex: What was the average snowfall over the country in the last storm?
whiteout (n.) – to be unable to tell the difference between things because of an overabundance of snow
ex: After the whiteout, looking outside was like looking at a sheet of paper.
Winter Idioms in English:
There are lots of idioms that use winter words in order to make a point. Many of these phrases don’t have much to do with winter, though, which can make them more confusing. Here are some winter themed idioms that will help your English sparkle like freshly fallen snow.
snowball’s chance in hell – to be very unlikely to succeed at something
ex: The small boat had a snowball’s chance in hell of surviving the storm.
dead of winter – the coldest, darkest part of winter
ex: It feels like the dead of winter out there.
to be on thin ice – to be in a risky situation
ex: If you keep asking him about his ex-girlfriend, you’ll be on thin ice.
pure as the driven snow – to be innocent and chaste (frequently used ironically)
ex: I never thought Madonna was pure as the driven snow, but the book she wrote is crazy!
to break the ice – to create a more friendly and relaxed atmosphere
ex: Charmaine was great at breaking the ice, she always knows what to say to people.
to run hot and cold – to be unable to make up one’s mind
ex: Alexi’s feelings about her run hot and cold, one minute he loves her, and the next, he’s bored of her.
the snowball effect – when something small keeps growing in importance or significance
ex: Gangnam Style’s popularity was such a snowball effect.
put something on ice – to stop doing something
ex: Herbert is going to put the project on ice until he gets a response from his supervisor.
snowed under – to be overwhelmed, usually with responsibilities
ex: I’m sorry I can’t go to the party tonight, I’m snowed under with homework.
If you like talking about the weather, check out our weather idioms illustration. Click the link to see eight different examples of weather idioms!
Did you see any challenging words in the above blog post? Learn their meanings!
to be stranded - to be unable to leave a certain place
significance – importance, distinction
abundance – a large amount of something