Learn fantastic expressions about the weather and their meaning

Some time ago, we talked about the expression “raining cats and dogs” (if you don’t remember, click here). Today, we are going to talk about other expressions related to the weather. Are you ready?

Photo by Osman Rana on Unsplash

Get wind of something

To get wind of something means to hear a rumor, to discover information through unofficial channels, or to find out a secret before others.

How was it created? The expression has been in use since the first half of the 18 century and it has its origin in nature. More specifically, it refers to predators. A lot of animals become aware of their predators or that they are near their prey due to a scent on the wind.

Hunters typically approach their prey from downwind; that way their own scent will travel away from their target. So, if they “get a wind of something,” animals have either caught the scent of their next meal, or the scent of their predator trying to eat them. 

On cloud nine 

To be on cloud nine means to be extremely and blissfully happy. But why do we say on cloud nine and not on cloud seven or three or twenty five? Many have tried to find the origin and significance of the number, and some theories have arisen.

A common explanation is that cloud nine refers to the classification by the US Weather Bureau in the 1950s, in which cloud nine is an attractive fluffy cumulonimbus type. 

Another theory is that it refers to one of the stages of the progress to enlightenment of a Bodhisattva (one destined to become a Buddha).

However, these theories have little to hold them. It seems like it is the imagery of the phrase itself that gives the meaning to the expression, more than the number itself. The imagery was originally of a ‘head in the clouds’ dreaminess, induced by either intoxication or inspiration, which developed into the definition we have today.

Colder than a witch’s tit

This expression has a very straightforward meaning: very, very cold. The origin of the expression is as curious as the expression itself. “Colder than a witch’s tit” appeared for the first time in a mystery novel, Spider House,  by the American writer Francis Van Wyck Mason in 1932.

However, the expression was replaced in subsequent editions. It is possible that he invented it, or that he heard it on the streets, but one theory links the expression to witch hunters.

It was believed that witches would breastfeed their children with teats on various parts of their body. Any signs of “witches’ marks” would be considered enough proof of witchery, and they would be persecuted. But how it served as inspiration for the expression is still unknown.

What other expressions do you want to learn about? Click here for more origins of words.

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  1. Pingback: Top 5 idioms about families! – Lyngua Translations

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