Warm Up Your English Skills With Winter Idioms Ep 698

Cozy house with a chimney, surrounded by snow, decorated with Christmas lights. Boost your English with fun winter idioms!

📝 Author: Hilary

📅 Published:

💬 3563 words ▪️ ⏳ Reading Time 18 min

📥 Download MP3 & PDF 11.6 Mb ▪️ 👓 Read Transcript ▪️ 🎧 Listen to Lesson

Boost your English with fun winter idioms!

Discover and use winter #idioms to enhance your #englishfluency with Adept English. Ready to 'wrap up warm' in your English learning journey? 🧣 Our latest podcast is a treasure trove of tips and idioms to help you become fluent in English with a British twist!

Unlock Winter Wonders with Adept English! 🌨️🗝️

  • Tutorial: Dive into charming British English idioms!
  • Lifestyle & Culture: Experience UK winter expressions!
  • Learn & Speak: Boost your fluency in conversational English!
  • Grammar & Vocabulary: Enhance your understanding of idiomatic expressions!
  • Listening & Speaking: Perfect your pronunciation and listening skills!
  • Levels: Suitable for beginners to advanced learners!
  • Free Course: Access our exclusive "Seven Rules of Adept English"!
  • Podcast: Engaging, real-world examples to cement your learning!

✔Lesson transcript: https://adeptenglish.com/lessons/learn-british-english-winter-idioms/

To appreciate the beauty of a snowflake, it is necessary to stand out in the cold.
⭐ Aristotle

Imagine being able to express yourself in English as naturally as you breathe. Today's lesson is not just about learning idioms; it's about making them useful to you.

Hilary from Adept English will guide you through enchanting winter idioms that are key to mastering fluency. Ready to transform your English? Dive in!

The fire is winter’s fruit.
⭐ Arabian Proverb

Warm 🔥 up your English this winter! Discover charming British idioms in our newest podcast. Listen now on Spotify, YouTube, or visit adeptenglish.com! #englishlearning Visit Adept English and start speaking English fluently today! 🌐

More About This Lesson

Join Adept English in an exciting journey through British winter idioms! Our lesson, led by Hilary, is not just about learning; it's about embracing these idioms to enhance your fluency in English. Discover the charm and uniqueness of idioms like "a cold snap" or "the dead of winter" and see how they are woven into everyday conversations in the UK. This lesson is more than words; it's a window into British culture and a step towards thinking and speaking in English naturally.

Snowflakes are one of nature's most fragile things, but just look what they can do when they stick together.
⭐ Vesta M. Kelly

Interactive Learning: Engage actively with our intuitive lessons.

  1. Idiom Understanding: Learn unique British idioms, enhancing cultural and conversational skills.
  2. Contextual Learning: Get real-world examples for idioms, aiding memory and usage.
  3. Vocabulary Expansion: Discover varied meanings of words like 'snap', increasing lexical range.
  4. Pronunciation Practice: Listen and mimic to improve your English pronunciation.
  5. Cultural Insights: Gain knowledge about UK weather-related customs and phrases.
  6. Active Listening Skills: Develop your listening comprehension by engaging with native speech.
  7. Fluency Boost: Practice idioms in context, refining your speaking fluency.
  8. Seasonal Relevance: Learn idioms applicable in winter, useful for timely conversations.
  9. Interactive Learning: Opportunity to participate in polls, enhancing engagement.
  10. Comprehensive Instruction: Covers idioms, usage, and cultural context, offering a well-rounded lesson.

Benefits of our listen & learn approach to learning

Real-World Examples: Understand idioms through practical scenarios.

  • Fluency Enhancement: Dive deep into idioms to speak English more fluently.
  • Cultural Immersion: Gain insights into British culture through winter idioms.
  • Language Mastery: Learn not just to recognize, but to use idioms like a native.
  • Year-Round Colour: Add vibrancy to your conversations, regardless of the season.
  • Overcoming Language Fears: Address common fears in language learning with constructive tips and encouragement.
  • Unique British Idioms: Understand and use idioms specific to British English.
  • Beyond Literal Meaning: Explore the cultural and figurative meanings of phrases.
  • Addressing Language Fears: Learn how to overcome common challenges in language learning.
No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.
⭐ Hal Borland

🧣 Cozy up with English this winter! Learn idioms that'll warm your heart and mind. Listen on Spotify, YouTube, or adeptenglish.com today! #CozyEnglish #LanguageLove

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about "Winter Idioms for English Fluency"

Learning British English with Adept English is like kindling a cozy winter fire: the idioms are the crackling logs, and your growing fluency, the warmth that spreads, inviting and illuminating.

  1. What is a 'cold snap' and how is it used in British English? In British English, a 'cold snap' refers to a brief, sudden period of very cold weather, often with snow. It's a key phrase in discussing UK weather, which is a common topic of conversation. For example, you might say, "We're expecting a cold snap next week, so get your winter coats ready."
  2. How does the phrase 'the dead of winter' enhance English fluency? 'The dead of winter' describes the deepest, coldest part of winter. Using such idiomatic expressions makes your English sound more natural and fluent. In conversation, you could use it like: "In the dead of winter, the nights are longest and the days are coldest."
  3. What is the significance of 'a snow day' in the UK, and how can I use this idiom? 'A snow day' usually means a day off from school or work due to heavy snowfall, a concept more common in American English but now used in the UK too. In regions where snow is rare, this idiom conveys a sense of unexpected holiday. For instance: "Schools were closed due to a snow day, much to the children's delight."
  4. Can you explain 'a White Christmas' as an idiom and its cultural relevance in the UK? 'A White Christmas' refers to having snow on Christmas Day, a rare and magical event in the UK. It's often associated with a dream or wish for a picturesque holiday. You could say, "Everyone is hoping for a White Christmas this year for a festive atmosphere."
  5. How does understanding the idiom 'to snowball' help in learning English? The idiom 'to snowball' means to grow rapidly in size or intensity, similar to a snowball increasing in size as it rolls. It’s used metaphorically to describe situations escalating quickly. For example: "The small disagreement soon snowballed into a major argument."

Most Unusual Words:

  • Cold snap: A short period of very cold weather.
  • Dead of winter: The coldest, darkest part of winter.
  • Snow day: A day when schools or workplaces are closed due to heavy snowfall.
  • White Christmas: A Christmas Day with snow on the ground.
  • To snowball: To increase rapidly in size or intensity.
  • To wrap up: To dress warmly or to conclude something.
  • Sub-zero: Temperatures below zero degrees Celsius.
  • Betting odds: The likelihood of a certain event happening, often used in gambling.
  • Simile: A figure of speech comparing two different things using 'like' or 'as'.
  • Thermal leggings: Warm, insulating pants worn under other clothing in cold weather.

Most Frequently Used Words:


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Transcript: Warm Up Your English Skills With Winter Idioms

Warm Up Your English Skills with Winter Idioms

In today’s podcast, let’s warm up your English with winter idioms! Let’s do some traditional English language learning! In the northern hemisphere and in the UK, we are gearing up for winter. Let’s take a short tour through the charming world of British English idioms, that relate to winter. This isn't just any old English lesson; it's a key to unlocking your fluency and I’ll give you real-world examples, so that you can glue these English idioms into your mind, learn to recognise them and to use them yourself! You can use these idioms all year round, but some of them will be more apt in the winter. So let’s ‘warm up your English with winter idioms’.

Hello, I’m Hilary, and you’re listening to Adept English. We will help you to speak English fluently. All you have to do is listen. So start listening now and find out how it works.

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Our Winter Idioms today

Our winter idioms today are:-

  • A cold snap
  • The dead of winter
  • A snow day
  • A White Christmas
  • To snowball and
  • To wrap up or to wrap up warm

A cold snap

Let's start with the strange phrase ‘a cold snap’ - you’d never guess this if you didn’t know it! In Britain, talking about the weather isn't just small talk - it's a national pastime. A ‘cold snap’ means a sudden, brief period of very cold weather. Imagine the chill in the air, picture the frosty mornings, and wrapping up in your warmest coat.

This isn’t the context where you’d normally meet the word ‘snap’, SNAP in English. It has a variety of meanings, but basically if something breaks suddenly and dramatically under pressure, especially if it makes a ‘snap’ noise, then we would say it ‘snaps’ or it ‘snapped’. A twig, a small tree branch might ‘snap’ if we step on it. Or a stick of celery may ‘snap’ if you bend it. There’s also a card game called ‘Snap’. And if someone’s in a bad mood - and they speak suddenly and sharply to someone - we might even say ‘unkindly’ - we’d say ‘She snapped at me!’. So ‘to snap at someone’ means to speak sharply and angrily to them. But ‘a cold snap’ in this context just means a few days of very cold weather, especially where that involves snow. Sub-zero temperatures are not uncommon in the UK in winter, but snow doesn’t happen that often. But where we have a few days of cold, especially snowy weather - we can it ‘a cold snap’. Some examples? ‘My roses were still flowering in November, until we had that cold snap’. ‘There’s going to be a cold snap next week, so dig out your winter coats and scarves’. ‘Or my pipes froze and I had a water leak, during that cold snap last winter’.


Image of a snowy landscape with a quaint British village in the background. Unlock fluency through real-world examples.

©️ Adept English 2023

The dead of winter

Next, have you heard the idiom in ‘the dead of winter’? This dramatic phrase paints a picture of the deepest, coldest part of winter. But don't worry, it's not as bad as it sounds! ‘In the dead of winter’, the world may seem asleep, but it's just resting, waiting for spring. Vocabulary here? The word ‘dead’, DEAD is more commonly heard being used as an adjective. If something or someone is ‘dead’, it means that they were living and they’re not living any more. So when you hear the idiom ‘the dead of winter’, we’re using it as a noun. And what do we mean? Well, we actually mean ‘the middle of winter’. You might also hear the phrase ‘in the dead of night’ - and again, this phrase means ‘in the middle of the night’. Certainly as far as the ‘dead of winter’ is concerned - I’m a gardener - and in the middle of winter, it’s quite common for your garden to look pretty dead. Lots of plants look as if they’ve died - even though as soon as spring comes, they revive, they pop up again and start growing. So this phrase isn’t mysterious if you’re a gardener. But I think that’s where it comes from - ‘in the dead of winter’ means ‘in the middle of winter’ when perhaps it seems as though it’s never going to end. But of course, it always does!

A snowday

Now, let's talk about "snow days." Picture this: you wake up, and you take a ‘peek’ (a little look) through your curtains, and see a blanket of snow. In the UK, this often means a day off school or work. We’re not very organised when it comes to snow! So it's a chance to pause, play in the snow, and to appreciate the simple joys of life. The phrase ‘a snow day’ was more of an American idea, but it is a phrase we use in British English now too. And it’s fairly obvious what it means. If you have ‘a snow day’, it means that you can take the day off school or work, because of the snow. My sense is that years ago, we’d have battled through the snow to get to work or school, but in these very ‘health and safety’ conscious days, we don’t do that. Instead we have ‘a snow day’ and we stay home. Maybe we work online instead. The very idea of a snow day may be difficult to understand if you live in a place where snow is pretty constant in the wintertime. Sometimes other Europeans, who have more snow than we do in the UK, are slightly bemused by the way that British people react when the snow comes. Everything stops here - it’s as though there’s an emergency. The countries of Scandinavia and Iceland - I don’t think they have ‘snow days’. They just get on with it because they’re used to dealing with snow and ice!

A White Christmas

‘A White Christmas’ is a classic song, but it's that dream of snowy landscapes on Christmas Day. In the UK, snow on Christmas Day is fairly rare, making it all the more magical. It's a reminder that sometimes, the most special moments are the ones we least expect. So ‘a white Christmas’ means is that there is snow on the ground on Christmas Day. Again in countries like Canada, Iceland, much of Scandinavia, Switzerland - wherever there are ski resorts I guess, then ‘a white Christmas’ isn’t anything unusual. It happens every year. But in countries like the UK, ‘a white Christmas’ is less likely. It can be cold and rainy and a bit dark in the winter in the UK - but snow is less common, depending of course on how far north or south you are. And in fact, if you like betting - that’s ‘to bet’, BET, if you like to put money on a predicted outcome - you can get what’s called ‘betting odds’ for a white Christmas. ‘Odds’, ODDS means the chance of it happening. So you can ‘bet money’ just as as you would on a horse race or a football match - on whether or not there’s going to be snow on Christmas Day. How likely depends where you are in the UK. So betting odds for a white Christmas that are currently being offered? 10-1 against snow at Gatwick, near Gatwick airport on Christmas Day this year, but it’s more like 2-1 or 5-2 for northern cities like Edinburgh or Glasgow. Anyway, that’s ‘a white Christmas’.

Is English Stuck In The Past? 🐘 Time To Learn Idioms That Matter!

To snowball

Another winter idiom. What about the verb ‘to snowball’? That’s SNOWBALL. If as a child you grew up in a place where there was snow in the winter, the chances are you’ve made snowballs. This is where you pick up a handful of snow and you mould it into a ball shape, usually to throw at someone. Then they throw snowballs back at you. At least, that’s how we spent our lunchtimes on snowy days when I was in school! What sometimes children also do - they’ll put a snowball on the ground in the snow - and then they’ll roll it along. The effect is that the ball of snow gets bigger and bigger, gathering snow as it goes - until guess what? You’ve got a giant snow ball. And this of course may be the basis for your snowman - or your snow woman. A figure made out of snow. But when we use the verb ‘to snowball’, we’re usually using it as an idiom. And it refers to this effect of the snowball gathering snow and getting bigger as it rolls. So the example given by the Cambridge Dictionary online - ‘I suggested a few drinks after work, and the whole thing snowballed into a company party’! Or another one from that website ‘Public support for military action has snowballed’. So basically the verb ‘to snowball’, just means ‘to grow, to gather pace, to get bigger, become more significant’. And it’s more usually used of abstract things - here like the idea of ‘support’ or the impromptu party in the first example.

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To wrap up or to wrap up warm

Last one for today? Recently in podcast 684 on Similes - I covered the English phrase ‘snug as a bug in a rug’! It means that you’re ‘wrapped up warm’ - which brings me from a simile to another winter weather idiom that we use in English. When there’s a cold snap, people say to each other ‘Wrap up warm!’ or ‘Wrap up!’ or ‘Don’t forget you need to wrap up if you’re going to be outside all evening!’ So the verb ‘to wrap up’ or to ‘wrap up warm’? That’s WRAP. It means ‘Put on your warmest clothes!’. Put on your woolly hat, your scarf, your thick coat - and maybe even some thermal leggings - so that you stay warm, because it’s cold outside. Confusingly, we sometimes use ‘to wrap up’ to mean ‘to gradually finish something’. An example might be if you’re giving a presentation - and your boss says ‘You need to wrap up now’. She means ‘You need to bring your comments to a finish, to a conclusion’. That’s ‘to wrap up’ if you’re talking about an event. But ‘to wrap up’ in the context of cold weather means ‘wear warm clothes’. So don’t forget - if it’s wintertime where you are, ‘wrap up warm’!


OK, let me know how you get on with these ‘winter idioms’. We love your feedback! And don’t forget to take part in our Spotify polls. The results of these polls are really interesting - sometimes we just ask the question for interest - and other times, your answers shape what podcasts we make at Adept English.

Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to us again soon. Goodbye.

Thank you so much for listening. Please help me tell others about this podcast by reviewing or rating it. And, please share it on social media. You can find more listening lessons and a free English course at adeptenglish.com




The voice of Adeptenglish, loves English and wants to help people who want to speak English fluently.
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