Winter Idioms

This is the time of year for crisp wind, wool scarves, and thick coats, which means that winter is fully upon us. Aside from the traditions of building snowmen, snacking on peppermint-flavored sweets, and sipping hot cocoa by a cozy fire, what sorts of things do we associate with winter? And how does winter-related terminology appear in our every day English language conversations? We use winter idioms all the time without realizing it. When learning English, it helps to have a strong understanding of what these sorts of idioms mean so you can use them effectively in day-to-day conversation. So how many of these do you already know and how many are completely new to you? Let's find out!


A Snowball’s chance in hell

winter idiom

Meaning: This is a great way to describe something as having no chance at all. If you put a snowball in a hot place like hell, it has no way of surviving.


As snug as a bug in a rug

winter idiom

Meaning: To be this snug means that you are very cozy and comfortable. During the winter, this is best achieved by wrapping up in a soft blanket and sitting by the fire.


On thin ice

winter idiom

Meaning: This is usually used to describe someone who is in a very risky situation. If you are constantly getting in trouble at work, you have to be careful what you do next because you are “on thin ice.”


Out cold

winter idiom

Meaning: If a person is “out cold” then they are completely unconscious and non-responsive. When you get home after a long day and fall into a deep sleep, you could be described as being “out cold.”


Put something on ice

winter idiom

Meaning: This term is used when you want to postpone acting on something. If there is a big business deal that still needs to be sorted out before it can go into place, it will be “put on ice.”


Snowball effect

winter idiom

Meaning: Just like when a real snowball rolls down a hill and gets bigger because it picks up more snow on its way down, the “snowball effect” describes something that starts small but becomes larger as time goes by.


Tip of the iceberg

winter idiom tip of the iceberg

Meaning: This is used to describe something that is just hinting at a much larger or more complicated problem. 90% of an iceberg is underwater, so what you see is just a suggestion of the whole thing.


Test your Knowledge

How many do you think you can put into use in your everyday language? Take our quiz and test your knowledge of these frosty idioms.



Did any of these phrases surprise you? Have you heard of any others? Let us know in the comments below!

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