Think of the expression ‘snowed under’, for example. We don’t literally mean that someone is completely covered by snow, as if an avalanche has coated them. But the figurative meaning is easy to understand from this visualization. ‘Snowed under’, often used in a workplace, means that one has so much work to do and so many things occupying them that one may have problems dealing with them all. Rather like being stuck under a snow drift!

Let’s look at some other common expressions using weather terms.

Under the weather

If someone is under the weather, then they’re not feeling very well. In the old days, if a sailor felt ill, then they were sent down below deck to recover (away from the elements). Thus came this expression!

I don’t think I’m up to presenting the meeting today – I’m feeling rather under the weather.

Kim’s been feeling under the weather recently. I wonder if it’s stress related as she has tons of work to do.

Come rain or shine

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If something happens come rain or shine, then it means it will happen no matter what. Often used with something you are planning to do, it means the person will do it, with nothing stopping them. This idiom is often used rather literally (expecting rainy or sunny weather).

We’ll be there for the picnic, come rain or shine.

They say the protestors outside St. Paul’s will be there every day, come rain or shine.

Rain on someone’s parade

A famous expression due to the song ‘Don’t Rain on My Parade’, from the musical Funny Girl, raining on someone’s parade means that they stop your pleasure in something or ruin their plans, often by criticising them.

Sorry, I don’t want to rain on your parade, but we tried that scheme last trimester and it didn’t work at all.

I always got so excited every time I got an A at school, but my brother was always the one to rain on my parade by turning up with all A stars on his report.

Take by storm

If something (such as a new film, or book, etc) takes people by storm, it means that it enthralls and captivates them. Basically, it’s really popular.

The first Harry Potter book took the world by storm, but J.K Rowling had to send her work to several publishers before they agreed to print it.

One Direction has taken the world by storm (well, 11 year old girls, at least).

E. Lawrenson

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