Although English doesn’t have over 50 words to describe snow like the Eskimos, we do have some “cool” vocab and phrases to help talk about the weather outside during these chilly winter months. Let’s take a look at some weather related words and phrases in order to get us through winter and into spring!


When the temperature outside is very low and your body temperature usually drops when you leave the comfort of being inside. 

  • It’s really cold today! 

  • I wore my warm winter coat because it’s so cold.

Note: If someone “has a cold” or “catches a cold” then this means that they are sick or ill, not “feeling cold”


Describes the temperature when it’s a little cold, but not extremely cold. 

  • It’s not too cold outside, but it’s still chilly

  • Bring a light jacket for the cool mornings.

Cold snap:

A short period of cold weather

  • The news says we’re going to have a cold snap this week.

  • It was a really warm winter this year except for that weeklong cold snap in July.


A severe snow storm

  • We couldn’t go outside for days because of a powerful blizzard. 

  • Once the blizzard was finally over we were able to drive home.

Sleet (noun) or sleeting (verb):

Icy or freezing rain 

  • It was sleeting so hard we couldn’t even see ten meters in front of us. 

  • The sleet and snow made it too dangerous to fly.

Fog (noun) or foggy (adjective):

A cloud that is near the ground (low-lying). 

  • If fog is thick or dense it can make it difficult to see far away distances. 

  • Usually, on my morning drive to work it’s really foggy.

Freezing or frigid:

When the temperature is below the freezing point and it’s extremely or uncomfortably cold. Also used when someone feels really cold, even if it isn’t literally “freezing” outside. 

  • I was freezing yesterday when we went ice skating. 

  • She hates the freezing cold weather.


When a human or animal tremors or quivers because they feel cold. 

  • Let me give you my jacket so you stop shivering. 

  • He’s so cold he’s shivering!

Warm up:

Describes someone or something that was cold and then became warm. Someone can “warm up” by going into a warm building or food can “warm up” when it’s put in the microwave or on the stove. 

  • I need to go inside and warm up.

  • Will you please warm the soup up in the microwave?

Stay warm or keep warm:

For someone to continue to be at a comfortable and warm temperature or to not allow themselves to get cold. 

  • She stays really warm at night with her thick blanket and wool socks.

  • I’m trying to keep warm, but it’s hard when it’s so cold outside!

Note: People commonly say, “Stay warm” or “Keep warm” when saying good-by to someone during the winter months. 

Common sayings related to winter or the cold

Snowball effect: An issue or problem that starts out small, but keeps growing or getting bigger

Tip of the iceberg: A small part of a large problem (commonly used to describe something negative)

In cold blood: When someone harms another person in a calculated, unsympathetic way

Cold shoulder: Intentionally being unfriendly to someone

Cold turkey: to stop an addictive habit suddenly or abruptly (as opposed to slowly or gradually). Usually in reference to drugs or alcohol. 

When hell freezes over: Something that will never happen

Walking on thin ice: to do something dangerous or risky that may have negative effects

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Written by: Monica Jones