Season of colds and flu

by Kate Woodford

It’s autumn, the time of the year when colds and flu are everywhere. With so many people coughing and sneezing, we thought it time to take a look at words relating to colds, flu, and their unpleasant symptoms.

When you are starting to suffer from a cold or flu, you might say you are coming/going down with a cold/the flu. You may have an idea where you caught it or picked it up. (Was it from the colleague who sneezed and coughed her way through a meeting with you?). It may be that it was impossible to escape as there are so many coughs and colds going round (= being passed from one person to another). Continue reading “Season of colds and flu”

Let it snow!

by Kate Woodford

Large parts of England have recently had their first real snow this winter. With several centimetres of snow still lying on the ground, we thought it time to take a look at words relating to snowy or wintry weather.

Like rain, snow can be light or heavy. When it comes from the sky, it falls or comes down. Each of the tiny pieces that falls is a snowflake. When the snow stays on the ground and does not melt, we say it settles. On the ground, it forms a covering. If the covering is thick, we may call it a blanket of snow. If it is a very thin layer of snow, we sometimes call it a dusting: a light dusting of snow. The word snowfall is used especially to talk about how much snow falls: Heavy snowfalls are expected tonight and tomorrow. Continue reading “Let it snow!”

What’s the weather like with you?

by Kate Woodford

With autumn almost done and winter on its way, we thought it a good time to take a look at the range of words and phrases that are used in relation to weather.

In summer, temperatures rise and when they go up suddenly, they soar, as in The temperature will soar into the eighties this weekend. A number of words mean ‘hot’, many of which have additional meanings. When it is close, it is uncomfortably hot and the air quality makes it difficult to breathe. Muggy and sticky both mean unpleasantly hot, referring to a humid heat, in which the air contains a lot of water. Adjectives such as boiling, sweltering, scorching and scorching hot all mean ‘extremely hot’ or ‘too hot’. They are all slightly informal in register. Stuffy describes a room or other enclosed space that is unpleasantly warm and lacks air. Continue reading “What’s the weather like with you?”