As the cold slowly turns up the heat in many parts of the world, we think there isn’t a better time to throw together a few chilly idioms to help us through the winter months. If you want your translations to feel a bit cooler, or simply break the ice in a conversation, here are a few idioms that will undoubtedly freshen things up.
Die Kuh vom Eis holen
Meaning literally “getting the cow from out of the ice”, this rather funky idiom means that you’re running out of time to complete a certain task, and you’ll have to find the means to get it done at any cost. We don’t know how a frozen cow might help getting work done, but perhaps after going through the ordeal of digging the poor animal out, any other task to be completed might seem easy. Food for thought.
When Hell Freezes Over
Hell is supposedly kind of hot. The chances of it freezing over are pretty low, unless climate change also manages to show up at the dark lord’s doorstep. One of the more common idioms in use today, it refers to the unlikeliness of a certain thing to happen, noting that it’s more probable that hell freezes over first. If there is an actual hell and it ends up freezing over, there goes the idiom, although admittedly it will likely be the least of our problems.
Llover a Cántaros
This Spanish idiom refers to an episode of heavy rain. The actual cántaros are traditional pottery items from the region used to carry water and other liquids, so it’s possible that the expression comes from exaggerating the size of the drops and deeming them large enough to fill a cántaro. At least we hope it’s that, because a rain of actual ceramic containers could get a bit messy after a while.
Noël au Balcon, Pâques au Tison
A French expression that can be translated as “Christmas on the balcony, Easter at the embers”, it refers to those mild winters that lead up to cold springs, so you better enjoy that winter on the balcony, because in a few months you’ll be stuck indoors. Unfortunately, the weather doesn’t seem to agree with this one, and it happily proceeds to throw our central heating budgets out of the window just for a laugh. Who would have ever thought that idioms are getting science wrong?