No matter where you are in the world, the weather is a popular topic. Humans love to talk about it, in any language. Here in the United States and other English-speaking countries, we use a lot of colorful words and phrases when we need to paint a picture of the conditions outside—everything from, “hot enough to fry an egg,” to “Snowmageddon.” There’s even our very own “Polar Coaster” to describe the crazy, fluctuating temperatures of winter.
No doubt, these phrases might sounds strange to weather watchers in other countries. So what do they say? We went on a hunt and compiled a list of some of the strangest but popular weather words and terms from around the globe. Think of it as an international weather glossary!
Weather Terms From Around The Globe
“It’s raining cats and dogs” is a common phrase we use to describe heavy, relenting rains. But in other countries, they might use some of these instead.
Chover canivete —In Portugal, this is used to describe heavy rain, the literal translation of which is “it’s raining pocket knives.” Maybe not cats and dogs, but just as strange-sounding.
Il pleut des cordes—The French use this term, which means “it’s raining ropes.” Ropes of rain falling from the sky? We’re going to need a bigger umbrella!
Det regner trollkjerringer—Norwegians might describe a downpour in this way, which translates to “it’s raining troll women.” Maybe they’re friendly trolls?
Ou vrouens met knopkieries reen—In South Africa and Namibia, this translates literally to, “it’s raining old women with clubs.” Watch out!
When It’s Cold Out
If it’s “colder than a brass toilet seat in the Yukon,” we are all in agreement that it’s crazy-cold out. Lots of other cultures have similar words and phrases to describe the plummeting temperatures, with a local twist.
Gluggaveðu — In Iceland, this translates to “window weather,” the type of weather that looks nice from inside, but you’d rather not be out in it. Usually a bright, sunshiny day, best enjoyed from a cozy window seat with a cup of hot chocolate because even though it looks nice, it’s actually extremely cold outside. That calls for a dose of hygge!
Faire un temps de Toussaint—In France, this is an expression that describes a chilly, gloomy day that might be typical of November, though this expression can be used any time of the year. Toussaint specifically refers to the 1st of November, which is All Saints’ Day. So this phrase translates literally as “to be Toussaint weather,” or “to be All Saints’ Day weather.”
Yowe-tremmle—A Scottish term, which translates to “ewe-tremble.” A “ewe tremble” is a late spring cold snap, usually happening toward the end of June, just cold enough to make newly-sheared ewes shiver. Brrrr!
зуб на зуб не попадает—A Russian term which means you’re shivering so badly, you can’t keep your teeth together; translated literally to “tooth to tooth.” Or as we know it, teeth chattering!
Les saints de glace — In France, this is what an unexpected cold snap is called, which means “the Saints of Ice,” a reference to celebrations of three saints that takes place in May, when cold snaps often occur.
A Few More…
Chubasco — A term from Central and South America, meaning a sudden, powerful storm with high winds that can do a lot of damage.
Die frühjahrsmüdigkeit— The opposite of “spring fever,” this German term means “spring fatigue” or “spring lethargy.” Probably used after a long weekend spent preparing garden beds and doing springtime chores!
Now you can talk about the weather no matter where you are in the world!
Tell us: have you heard other odd or interesting weather terms when traveling abroad, or even in your own neighborhood? Tell us in the comments below!