Breaking the ice and throwing caution to the wind (Weather idioms, Part 3)

by Kate Woodford

Bill Hornstein/Moment/GettyImages

This is the last in a series of posts on idioms containing words for different types of weather. Today, we’ll mainly be looking at ‘ice’ and ‘wind’ idioms, but we’ll start with a very common idiom containing the word ‘weather’ itself. If someone is under the weather, they feel rather ill: I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather all week, as if I’m getting a cold.

If you break the ice, you say or do something to make people feel more relaxed with each other: We usually start the session with a fun activity to break the ice. An activity that is used in this way is called an ice breaker: It’s a useful ice breaker for a class who don’t know each other very well.

If you’re on thin ice or skating on thin ice, you are doing something that involves risks: I knew I was skating on thin ice and he might tell me to leave, but I had to ask him.

If something that someone says cuts no ice with you, it doesn’t make you change your mind: I’ve heard his excuses and they cut no ice with me. I don’t want to see him again.

A plan that is on ice has been delayed: We no longer have premises for the café so for now, the whole project is on ice.

We use the simile as cold as ice for something that is very cold: Oh your poor hands – they’re as cold as ice!

Moving on now to ‘wind’ idioms, if someone gets wind of something secret, they find out about it: I’m worried  that If Sarah gets wind of our plans, she’ll try to stop us.

Something that is in the wind may happen soon: Changes are in the wind, and not all of them good ones.

If something takes the wind out of your sails, it makes you suddenly and unexpectedly feel less sure of what you are saying or doing: I was all set to tell him what I thought about his behaviour but then he smiled and offered me a chair and it took the wind out of my sails.

In UK English, something that puts the wind up someone makes them feel worried or afraid: Tell them you’ll report them to the police if they do it again. That should put the wind up them.

To throw caution to the wind(s) is to deliberately do something that you know is not sensible and has risks. (This phrase is often used humorously): We could throw caution to the wind and buy the most expensive one.

A rather literary expression is the chill wind of The chill wind of something is the problems caused by it: Are we, in fact, starting to feel the chill wind of a global economic slowdown?

This is the last of the weather idiom posts. We hope you’ve enjoyed them and found them useful!

11 thoughts on “Breaking the ice and throwing caution to the wind (Weather idioms, Part 3)

  1. Yuti

    English is so rich with idioms, these are just the tip of the ICEberg. And if you eat rich food, you are likely to pass WIND!

  2. Denis

    Here, in Russia, it’s cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey. 🙂 However, the weather is fantastic now (at least in Moscow).

    Cool article, by the way!

      1. Denis

        Fatuously said. I’ve just used an idiom from the dictionary. Moreover, the latter doesn’t say the idiom is offensive. Instead, the dictionary says it’s humorous. Thus, you don’t want to be that captious, preachy, or judgmental as your remark sounds a bit priggish, pearl-clutching, and humourless.

        P.S. Without balls, you’d better not go to Russia – not to put too fine a point on it. 🙂

  3. Ammar Briki

    -Physical nature ls changeable like human nature.That’s why it seems to me that the weather is associated in other languages to the qualification of ‘bad or good physical and mental state’.For example in Arabic,the concept of weather refers to a person who has been feeling that she is not in good fit or goiod state .of mind.In my colonial context ,I also heard a compatriot using a French popular expression(idiom)associated to violent behaviour..
    -To gets wind(s) of :is familiar in French language: the meaning is equivalent to ‘I heard about this information’ that is still secret..
    There is also an idiom in Arabic dialect: saying: ‘you hit the wind with a big stick’ meaning ‘ you ‘strike the void’ ‘it is unproductive and uneffective..’
    Thank you for sharing these useful English idioms..

    1. You know who 🤗

      If I may add…..when the wind is taken out of my sails all day everyday. I can’t work or be productive at all. I do have emotions. I’m not THE I’ve Queen. Please understand I’ve been through alot. I need processing time and recharging x

  4. Maryem Salama

    We have a proverb saying: ” When the winds are fighting each other, the sails will stand alone for the troubles or (toil).

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