Free Weather Idioms List with Examples for ESL teachers and students, to learn idioms or prepare ESL lesson plans. (Free download available.)
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List of Weather Idioms
Any port in a storm
This means that in an emergency any solution will do, even one that would normally be unacceptable.
A overly enthusiastic outlook or disposition. The sales team had blue skies projections for their deals, although not many of those deals were signed.
Bolt from the blue
If something happens unexpectedly and suddenly, it is a bolt from the blue.
Brighten up the day
If something brightens up your day, something happens that makes you feel positive and happy all day long.
Calm before the storm
A calm time immediately before period of violent activity or argument is the calm before the storm.
If someone chases rainbows, they try to do something that they will never achieve.
If you are on cloud nine, you are extremely happy. (‘cloud seven’ is a less common alternative)
Cloud of suspicion
If a cloud of suspicion hangs over an individual, it means that they are not believed or are distrusted.
Cloud on the horizon
If you can see a problem ahead, you can call it a cloud on the horizon.
Cold light of day
If you see things in the cold light of day, you see them as they really are, not as you might want them to be.
Come rain or shine
If I say I’ll be at a place come rain or shine, I mean that I can be relied on to turn up; nothing, not even the vagaries of British weather, will deter me or stop me from being there.
If a person is in the doldrums, they are depressed. If a project or something similar is in the doldrums, it isn’t making any progress.
Down in the doldrums
If somebody’s down in the doldrums, they are depressed and lacking energy.
If something or someone is having a dry spell, they aren’t being as successful as they normally are.
Every cloud has a silver lining
People sometimes say that every cloud has a silver lining to comfort somebody who’s having problems. They mean that it is always possible to get something positive out of a situation, no matter how unpleasant, difficult or even painful it might seem.
Face like thunder
If someone has a face like thunder, they are clearly very angry or upset about something.
A fairweather friend is the type who is always there when times are good but forgets about you when things get difficult or problems crop up.
Get wind of
If you get wind of something, you hear or learn about it, especially if it was meant to be secret.
Go down a storm
To say that something has been enjoyable or successful, you can say that it has gone down a storm. E.g. Last night’s party went down a storm, it was incredible.
If something or someone moves like greased lightning, they move very fast indeed.
Head is in the clouds
If a person has their head in the clouds, they have unrealistic, impractical ideas.
Hit rough weather
If you hit rough weather, you experience difficulties or problems.
In a fog
If you’re in a fog, you are confused, dazed or unaware.
Into each life some rain must fall
This means that bad or unfortunate things will happen to everyone at some time.
It never rains but it pours
‘It never rains but it pours’ means that when things go wrong, they go very wrong.
It’s raining cats and dogs
it’s raining very hard.
Know which way the wind blows
This means that you should know how things are developing and be prepared for the future.
Made in the shade
One has an easy time in life or in a given situation. Finding things working to one’s benefit.
Not know enough to come in out of the rain
Someone who doesn’t know enough to come in out of the rain is particularly stupid.
Quiet before the Storm
When you know that something is about to go horribly wrong, but hasn’t just yet, then you are in the quiet before the storm.
Quick as a flash / quick as a lightning
If you’re as quick as a flash, or quick as a wink, or quick as lightning, you’re very quick.
Rain on your parade
If someone rains on your parade, they ruin your pleasure or your plans.
If you save something, especially money, for a rainy day, you save it for some possible problem or trouble in the future.
Right as rain
If things are right as rain, then everything is going well in your life.
Sail close to the wind
If you sail close to the wind, you take risks to do something, going close to the limit of what is allowed or acceptable.
Seven sheets to the wind
If someone is seven sheets to the wind, they are very drunk.
Shoot the breeze
When you shoot the breeze, you chat in a relaxed way.
Steal someone’s thunder
If someone steals your thunder, they take the credit and praise for something you did.
Stem the tide
If people try to stem the tide, they are trying to stop something unpleasant from getting worse, usually when they don’t succeed.
Storm in a teacup
If someone exaggerates a problem or makes a small problem seem far greater than it really is, then they are making a storm in a teacup.
Take a raincheck
If you take a rain check, you decline an offer now, suggesting you will accept it later. (‘Raincheck’ is also used.)
Take by storm
To take by storm means to captivate- eg. A new play that took New York City by storm.
Tempest in a teapot / storm in a teapot
If people exaggerate the seriousness of a situation or problem, they are making a tempest in a teapot.
Throw caution to the wind
When people throw caution to the wind, they take a great risk.
Twisting in the wind
If you are twisting in the wind, you are without help or support – you are on your own.
Under a cloud
If someone is suspected of having done something wrong, they are under a cloud.
Under the weather
If you are feeling a bit ill, sad or lack energy, you are under the weather.
Wait for a raindrop in the drought
When someone is waiting for a raindrop in the drought, they are waiting or hoping for something that is extremely unlikely to happen.
Weather a storm
If you weather a storm, you get through a crisis or hard times.