Summer — a time for flip flops, cookouts, vacations, and … idioms? That’s right; some of the most well-used sayings in the English language are inspired by the warm rays of a sunny summer afternoon. Whether you’re enjoying “your day in the sun” or you’ve got “your head in the clouds,” these familiar summer-inspired phrases will make you long to soak up some sun.
Dog Days of Summer
When the weather turns scorching and sultry in the Northern Hemisphere — sometime between July and August — you’re in the dog days of summer. This period gets its name from astrology. During this time of year, the sun and the bright star, Sirius, occupy the same region of the sky. Sirius is also known as the Dog Star, and the ancient Greeks and Romans associated its appearance in the night sky with a rise in temperatures.
Everything Under the Sun
This idiom refers to anything and everything in the entire world, especially to the point of excess. If you’ve tried “everything under the sun” when it comes to finding a job, it means you’ve done absolutely everything possible and just can’t think of anything else. This idiom is usually couched in hyperbole, and it doesn’t literally mean everything.
Like a fake friend or “frenemy,” this is one type of pal to avoid. A fair-weather friend only wants to be around when things are bright and sunny in your life. They’ll abandon you at the first sign of trouble. The expression has been around since the 1800s and is related to the term “fair-weather sailor,” which is a mariner who can only pilot a ship in calm conditions. Give them a wide berth!
Having a green thumb means you have a natural talent for growing plants and nurturing gardens. The idiom dates back to the early 1900s when the expressions “green thumb” and “green fingers” were used literally to describe gardeners who handled potted plants stained with algae. It would rub off and turn their fingers green. It’s not easy being a green thumb.
Come Rain or Shine
This popular saying isn’t just for rainy days. It means that something will happen, or a sentiment is true, no matter the weather or circumstances. Originally written by Johnny Mercer for a musical, the song “Come Rain or Come Shine” has been covered by such greats as Billie Holiday, Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, and Willie Nelson. They crooned, “I'm gonna love you like no one's loved you… come rain or come shine.”
This description for a warm spell in October or November is better off left in the past. Instead of using this dated expression, consider adopting a phrase from across the pond. The British call the same time of year All-Hallows Summer, and the French refer to it as été de la Saint-Martin (or Summer of St. Martin).
Like a Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Someone anxious or unable to relax is like a cat on a hot tin roof. Just imagine sitting on a metal roof on a blazing summer day. The phrase is similar to the idioms “like a cat on a hot bake-stone” or “like a cat on hot bricks.” But Tennessee Williams adapted it slightly for his 1955 play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, so this is the version we remember today.
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