Tag Archives: weather

Fair-weather runners (and friends)

fair-weather runner meaning usage

Photo credit: fb.com/lifeinadayofarunner

I have to admit that every spring as I see more and more people running I decide to take up running myself. Now that I live close to the Downs, which is a relatively large and flat (which is uncommon in the hilly Bristol) green area, there are even more people out running and I am even more tempted. It’s not that I cannot make myself exercise – I do manage to do yoga at home fairly regularly, but with running it’s a different story.

Since I only run sporadically every run is a challenge, and also my back hurts if I run on tarmac, so I have to run on the grass, which – you’ve guessed – is wet about 70% of the time. So I end up running only on glorious sunny days, and they are few and far between. And then the autumn comes and I pretty much shelve all my running plans. That said, I do love the idea of running and determination that comes with it and I admire those who do it on a regular basis.

My only consolation is that yesterday I heard the word which describes me perfectly – ‘a fair-weather runner‘!

Here’re are a few examples:

– Recently, I seem to have been a bit of a fair-weather runner. Do you know that feeling? You look out of the window at the dark skies and the rain, and decide that you could just as well go running tomorrow, when it might be nicer. If, like me, you live in England, you’ll already have spotted the problem here. In the last year, the chances of tomorrow being nicer have been pretty low (mattgetsrunning.com).

– I am a Fair Weather Runner. I am going to let you all in on a little secret. I am not a hardcore runner. I would like to say I am, I really do try to be (runforfun-stephanie.blogspot.com).

P.S. There’s also an expression ‘a fair-weather friend‘, i.e. someone who only wants to be your friend when things are going well for you (MacMillan Dictionary).

Some examples of this phrase:

– Britain is an all-weather, not a fair-weather, friend to Afghanistan (The Guardian)

– But he was no fair weather friend. He was loyal and generous to his family and his friends (The Guardian).

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Snuggly / to snuggle

snuggly meaning

Photo credit: notonthehighstreet.com

My today’s linguistic catch is an incredibly useful word and I don’t think I’ve used it a lot so far – however, it might come in very handy in this sort of winter weather (even if British winters are generally rainy rather than snowy). A shop assistant said she loved my scarf and said it was ‘very snuggly‘ (you might think I was shopping for clothes, but in fact I went to buy a new frying pan).

There’s also a verb ‘to snuggle‘, meaning to put yourself into a warm, comfortable, safe position, for example by sitting with your body against someone else’s body or by sliding your body down under the covers on a bed (a bit of a lengthy definition from MacMillan Dictionary, this one, but you get the idea).

Just one more example sentence:

– What I love about this time of year is snuggling down with a really good book (The Guardian) – this one is about me!

Apart from ‘snuggling down‘, you can ‘snuggle up to somebody’ and ‘snuggle with somebody’.

And another picture – after all, a picture is worth a thousand words:

to snuggle meaning

Photo credit: athomeinlove.com

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To smile from ear to ear

to smile from ear to ear idiom meaning

Photo credit: historytoday.com

Today we had a fire alarm at work and everyone was leaving reluctantly because of below zero temperature outside and no time to grab a coat, though the prospect of such an unforeseen break from work made it much more bearable. As we were leaving the building, my colleague said ‘Look, everyone is smiling from ear to ear, it says a lot about this place’. I completely agree on this one, that’s why I am leaving in three weeks.

I am pretty sure that the explanation of this phrase is not needed, but I cannot resist the temptation of searching for some examples:

– Put out the bunting, crack open the beers, stand there in the kitchen smiling from ear to ear, because he’s home – our student son is home and the family is together again. And after supper, after the washing up is done, the others – his younger siblings – drift off to watch television, and he says: “Would you like to see my tattoo?” (The Guardian).

– He came to me to discuss it in 1985, smiling from ear to ear but unshaven, from the hospital where he had been up all night waiting for his son Max to be born (The Guardian).

– Craig Kinsley, a rookie Team USA javelin thrower, was smiling from ear to ear as he joined the first athletes dumping their bags in the Olympic Village. “I’ve just updated my Facebook status,” he said. “England,London, Olympic Village, heaven.” (The Guardian).

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About time

Don’t worry – today I won’t bore you with long definitions and endless examples.

I’m pretty sure by this time everyone knows about how miserable this summer has been in the UK, but today was one of the rare days with some serious sunshine. So I went to buy some fruit from a greengrocer and had the following conversation:

– It’s nicer today!

– Oh yes (I’m bad at small talk, yet it is an absolute survival skill in this country)

About time (pronounced very sarcastically).

Actually, I couldn’t resist looking this up in the dictionary just in case. Apparently, ‘about time‘ has two relatively similar meanings: 1) used for saying that someone should do something soon; 2) in spoken language it’s used for showing that you are annoyed because something has happened later than it should (MacMillan Dictionary).

PS. Speaking of greengrocers, did you know such thing as a greengrocers’ apostrophe existed?

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A nip in the air

a nip in the air meaning

Photo credit: Janneke Aicher, 2010-2012

I have heard this expression on several occasions and came across it yesterday in a book by Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin,  which I’m thoroughly enjoying.

You say ‘there is a nip in the air‘ when ‘the weather is cold in an unpleasant way’ (MacMillan Dictionary). Alternatively, you can say ‘it’s a bit nippy today’ or ‘the weather is nippy today’.

Some more examples, should you need them:

– As a gambit, the weather is a reassuring icebreaker for strangers on trains and in myriad, awkward lift journeys. It can be a crushingly banal conversational filler. “Hot enough for you?” might evoke the response “glorious, isn’t it?” Or “Brrrrrrr, bit nippy today,” answered by “Brass monkeys!” (BBC)

– The air over us has come all the way from Spitzbergen in the Arctic so no wonder it’s a bit nippy! (BBC)

– The sun may be shining, but there’s still a nip in the air. Slip one of these blazers over a dress or T-shirt and you’re all set for spring (The Guardian).

– Hazel was one of the first trees to recolonise Britain after the last ice age, so they can they can tolerate a nip in the air (The Guardian).

PS. There is another good expression with the word ‘nip‘, but I’ll save it for later.

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It’s bucketing down!

Bucketing down expression meaning

Photo credit: Nuit Blanche / Arev Manukian

This is one handy phrase to know if you’re heading for the UK, if you want to put into words this nature phenomenon.

This, as I’m pretty sure you’ve guessed, means pretty heavy rain, a shower, if you like.

Armed with this new expression you could say something like:

– No, I’m not going to the gym, it’s bucketing down out there!

– Did you cycle all the way to work? It was bucketing down!

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