This website uses cookies. Read about how we use cookies.

50 curious weather sayings (and counting) and their origins

Do you know your cow-quaker from your hurly-burly? Britain's obsession with the weather dates long before the time of numerical forecasting. Weather sayings often have their origins in maritime or agriculture and whilst not all of these are still used today, you should recognise a few.


A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A map of UK showing where weather sayings originate

A

All-hallown summer

Meaning: In English folklore, an old name for a period of unseasonable warmth that is supposed to ocur on the eve of All Hallows day, November 1. It's use appears to have died out.

Origin: England

B

Ban-gull

Meaning: Summer sea breeze.

Origin: Scotland

Blackthorn winter

Meaning: Cold dry winds in the Thames Valley during March and April.

Origin: South-east England

Blad

Meaning: A squall accompanied by heavy rain.

Origin: Scotland

Blirty

Meaning: Gusts of wind and rain; changeable, uncertain weather.

Origin: Scotland

Bluffart

Meaning: A gust or squall accompanied by a sudden but short fall of snow.

Origin: Scotland

Blunk

Meaning: A fit of squally, tempestuous weather; a sudden squall.

Origin: England

Brash

Meaning: An accumulation of floating ice fragments less than 2m across, formed by the breakage of other ice forms.

Origin: Unknown

Brenner

Meaning: A sharp gust of wind over the water.

Origin: England

C

Cat's nose

Meaning: A cool northwest wind.

Origin: England

Caver

Meaning: A gentle breeze in the Hebrides.

Origin: West Scotland

Cow-quaker

Meaning: A May storm (after the cows have been turned out).

Origin: England

Custard winds

Meaning: Cold easterly winds in the northeast coast of England.

Origin: England

D

Dimpsey

Meaning: Very dull, wet weather conditions with low cloud and fine drizzle.

Origin: Cornwall and Devon, England

Doister

Meaning: A severe storm the sea.

Origin: Scotland

Dryth

Meaning: A dry northerly or easterly wind.

Origin: England

F

Fen Blow

Meaning: Dust storms on agricultural land

Origin: East Anglia

Source: Anson Observatory, Twitter

Flan

Meaning: A sudden gust or squall of wind from land.

Origin: Scotland

Flanders storm

Meaning: A heavy fall of snow coming with the south wind.

Origin: Britain

Flist

Meaning: A sudden shower accompanied by a squall.

Origin: Scotland

Fowan

Meaning: A dry, scorching wind.

Origin: Isle of Man

G

Gosling blast

Meaning: A sudden quall of rain or sleet.

Origin: England

Gowk storm

Meaning: A storm or gale occurring at about the end of April or the beginning of May.

Origin: England

Gowsty

Meaning: A term for gusty.

Origin: Northumberland

H

Haar

Meaning: A name applied to a wet sea fog or very fine drizzle that drifts in from the sea in coastal districts of eastern Scotland and northeastern England.

Origin: Eastern Scotland, northeastern England

Haster

Meaning: A violent storm of rain.

Origin: England

Haud

Meaning: Another term for a squall.

Origin: Scotland

Haugull

Meaning: Cold, damp wind blowing from the sea during summer in Scotland and Norway.

Origin: Scotland and Norway

Helm wind

Meaning: A strong wind that blows off Cross Fell in Cumbria.

Origin: Cumbria

Source: Michael Knowles, Facebook

Hig

Meaning: A sharp, short-lived storm of rain or wind.

Origin: England

Hurly-burly

Meaning: A thunderstorm.

Origin: England

K

Kaavie

Meaning: A heavy fall of snow.

Origin: Scotland

Kelsher

Meaning: A heavy fall of rain

Origin: England

L

Lambing storm or lamb-showers

Meaning: A slight fall of snow in the spring in England.

Origin: England

Land-lash

Meaning: A heavy fall of rain, accompanied by a high wind.

Origin: England

M

Manannan's Cloak

Meaning: A sea-mist that envelopes the Isle of Man

Origin: Isle of Man

Source: Sue Doyle, Facebook

Moor-gallop

Meaning: A sudden squall across the moors.

Origin: England

Mizzle

Meaning: A very dense, fine rain...

Origin: Devon, Cornwall and Northumberland

N

Northern nanny

Meaning: A cold storm of hail and wind from the north.

Origin: England

Naysh

Meaning: Devonshire expression meaning Cold.

Origin: Devon

Source: Tampster1922 (Dave), Twitter

P

Peesweep storm

Meaning: An early-spring storm.

Origin: England and Scotland

Pilmer

Meaning: A heavy shower of rain.

Origin: England

Plash

Meaning: A downpour of rain.

Origin: Northumberland

R

Robin Hood's wind

Meaning: A local name for a cold and raw northeasterly wind along the east coast of England.

Origin: Yorkshire

S

Scorcher

Meaning: A very hot day or period of very hot weather.

Origin: England

Scotch mist

Meaning: A combination of thick mist and heavy drizzle occurring frequently in Scotland and in parts of England.

Origin: Scotland

Sea Fret

Meaning: A cold mist that comes in from the sea.

Origin: Dorset

Source: Pam Smith, Twitter

Sea turn

Meaning: A wind coming from the sea, often bringing mist.

Origin: England

Sizzler

Meaning: A very hot day.

Origin: England

St. Luke's summer

Meaning: A period of fine, calm weather occurring in October.

Origin: English folklore

St. Martin's summer

Meaning: A period of fine, calm weather occurring in November.

Origin: English folklore

St. Swithin's Day

Meaning: A day that supposedly governs the weather of the next 40 days. 

Origin: English folklore

T

Teem

Meaning: To pour (rain).

Origin: Northumberland

Last updated: Jul 15, 2016 12:27 PM