Winter idioms – let’s practise

Winter trees. A snowy field. No leaves on trees

Here we are near the end of January and I think it’s safe to say that we’re nearing the end of Winter I love it when the days start getting longer, we begin to plan our summer holidays and a walk around the garden surprises us with little green shoots, popping up from the frozen ground. So, time to think about idioms associated with winter.

Put something on ice

This probably dates back to olden days, before the invention of fridges or freezers when you literally had to put your food on ice. Nowadays the phrase has a less cookery associated meaning. Imagine you are at a meeting and you come up with what you think is a great suggestion. If your boss does not share your vision she might say “ let’s put that idea on ice”. It’s a kind way of saying “ no thanks”, but she’s definitely not a big fan!

Break the ice

Last week was a very cold day. My little grandson, Patrick was with me for a visit. As it was so sunny we decided to go out for a walk. But it was also very cold; probably 0 degrees. The puddles in our street had frozen over and were covered in ice. An ice covered puddle is very attractive to a little six year old. So Paddy and I quickly set about stepping on the ice, enjoying the crunching and cracking splintering sounds. We were “ breaking the ice” Yet again, when used as an idiom, it has a very different meaning. As an idiom it means getting started with something, usually a difficult thing, something you’ve been ignoring or don’t want to do.

Tip of the iceberg

As a native of Belfast where the Titanic, possibly the most famous ship in the world, was built, I certainly know the danger of icebergs. When we think about these fabulous mountains of ice, we don’t always remember that what we see floating above the freezing waters is only a small part of the hulk which is underneath. We are literally seeing the “tip of the iceberg”. Now we use this idiom when discussing trends, events, changes. It always has negative connotations. For example. People may say that the current forest fires in Australia are just the “tip of the iceberg” in relation to the fears of climate change and global warming.

A scary place to leave you. But certainly “ food for thought”. Another idiom that we can explore in future blogs.


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