Winter Idioms in English

An infographic with definitions and examples of six idioms related to the cold, snowy months of winter.

These winter idioms are related to the cold, snowy months of winter.  If you don't live in a place that has cold weather and snow, I highly recommend you visit a place that does—it's a wonderful, magical thing to experience.

In winter we're talking about cold weather, snow and ice. When water freezes, it becomes hard ice. So, let's look at some popular winter idiomatic phrases.

More sentence examples

leave someone out in the cold:  to deliberately exclude someone from a group or activity.

  • After I got a promotion, my colleagues left me out in the cold at lunch time.
  • You're really cruel to always leave your litter sister out in the cold when your friends come over to visit.
  • I was popular and invited everywhere when I was the only one with a car but now that everyone can drive, they've left me out in the cold.

to be snowed under:  with too much work or other things to deal with.

  • It's tax season so I'm snowed under and won't be leaving the office before ten or eleven o'clock each evening.
  • We've been snowed under with complaints since we made upgrades to our software.
  • Don't bother trying to reach the airlines. They're snowed under trying to reschedule flights due to the airport closings the past three days.

a cold snap: very cold weather for a short period of time.

  • The flowers started to bloom on the trees last week but they all died after the cold snap this past weekend.
  • Make sure you bring lots of warm clothes with you when you go to Boston next week. They're expecting a cold snap.
  • Temperatures dropped to 20 degrees Fahrenheit (-7 degrees Celsius) during the record-breaking cold snap in May.

to freeze up:  to suddenly not be able to speak or act normally because you are nervous.

  • Even when I know the answer, I always freeze up when the teacher asks me a question.
  • I used to regularly freeze up when I had to give a speech but after taking a course on public speaking, I don't have problems anymore.
  • A lot of tennis players freeze up when they are serving to win a match.

give someone the cold shoulder:  to intentionally be unfriendly or ignore someone you know

  • My roommate has been giving me the could shoulder ever since I asked her to stop using my expensive shampoo and conditioner.
  • I wonder why the director was giving my boss the cold shoulder at today's staff meeting. He refused to call on her when she wanted to ask questions.
  • Is your husband still giving you the cold shoulder after you told him you were tired of doing all of the housework and had hired a cleaner?

skate on thin ice:  to be in a risky or dangerous situation.

  • Don't you think you're skating on thin ice calling in sick at work when you're actually flying to Florida for vacation?
  • My son is skating on thin ice being late for school every day.
  • I'm skating on thin ice writing this check for my rent when I don't have money in my account but hopefully my landlord won't cash it for a couple of days.

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