10 Summer idioms to add to your Vocabulary – BELS Malta

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Hello there, Summer! Start the new season with new summer idioms.

Here in Malta, the sun shines all year round, but in summer it gets especially hot. The days get longer, the drinks get cooler, and everything seems to get a bit more relaxed. And the best part is that summers in Malta are almost 4 months long. That means that you’ll have plenty of time to put your newly learned summer idioms to use.

Here are our top 10 English idioms related to summer.

1. Travel ‘on a Shoestring’

Summertime means travel time. To travel on a shoestring means to travel very cheaply. Many young people want to travel cheaply, so they choose hostels rather than hotels. This way you can save money and see more of the world.

Example: We travelled on a shoestring while backpacking through Europe last summer.

2. ‘Soak Up Some Sun’

To soak up some sun means to lie in the sun and enjoy the rays.

Example: I have been soaking up the sunshine here in Malta and I hope you’ve been watching it all on my Instagram!

3. ‘Dog Days of Summer’

Dog Days are the warmest days of summer. On days like these, the air is stuffy and every movement is an effort. Usually these days occur in July or August.

The expression has its origins in Greek mythology. In summer, you can watch Sirus, the dog star, during the nights. In late summer, he rises and sets in the northern hemisphere in line with the sun. The ancient Greeks believed that this combination of the sun and Sirus was responsible for the hot weather.

Example: Temperatures slowly climb up and we’re going into the dog days of summer.

4. ‘Like a cat on a hot tin roof’

Like a cat on a hot tin roof is a wonderful figurative expression. A tin roof which can quickly become very hot in the summer sun. So if you imagine a cat on such a roof, scurrying across it with its paws, you can imagine the meaning of this idiom. So this refers to a nervous and anxious person.

There is also an American film from 1958 called Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. It stars Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman.

Example: The actor was like a cat on a hot tin roof while he was waiting for his first performance to begin.

5.  ‘Summer fling’

A summer fling is a short summer romance or relationship during the summer. This is a summer fling that is not meant to last forever. With the summer, the romance also ends.

Example: I can’t believe Tiffany is a teenager already! She had her first summer fling with a boy from summer camp but thankfully it wasn’t too serious. I’m not prepared for her growing up so fast!

6. ‘A fair-weathered friend’

At first glance, it seems that this phrase is positive, because fair weather means good weather, but appearances are deceiving. A fair-weathered friend is someone who is only friends with you when you are doing well. However, if you get into trouble or things go badly for you, this person will not stand by you.

Example: I thought he was a great friend but he’s really just a fair-weather friend.

7. ‘Hotter than Dutch love’

This expression translates as “hotter than Dutch love. It is believed that this expression comes from Calvinism. It is said that the Dutch followers of Calvinism were very passionate with each other behind closed doors. So this expression means very hot days in summer, but it is also used to describe a hot partnership. You will hear it often in New York or Pennsylvania.

Example: How hot is it? Hotter than Dutch love.

8. ‘Chasing rainbows’

Chasing rainbows literally means “chasing rainbows”, but probably the German term “nach den Sternen greifen” fits better at this point. Someone who “chases rainbows” is trying to achieve something seemingly impossible. This term is mostly used for naive people, but maybe sometimes we should all try a little bit more to chase the rainbows.

Example: I know you want to be famous, but I think you should stop chasing rainbows and get an office job.

9. ‘Social butterfly’

A person is described as a social butterfly if he/she is very social and open. Social butterflies have no problem making friends in a new group and can adapt to different people – just like real butterflies. The downside, however, can be that these individuals have a hard time making deeper friendships because they care about multiple friendships at once.

Example: She’s a true social butterfly and loves parties and social events.

10. ‘One swallow doesn’t make a summer’

This expression is about swallows. It could be seen again and again that some swallows returned from their African winter quarters as early as March, and so it is said that one swallow does not yet mean that summer is here, if one wants to express that just because one good thing has happened, it does not necessarily mean that good thing will continue to happen.

Example: A lot of things went right for us this year, but one swallow does not make a summer.

Time to practice! Fill in the blanks with the correct idiom about summer.

  1. I know you want to become an actor but I think you should _______________  and get an office job.
  2. I was hit by an accident and was hoping my friend Jenny to help me, but she is really just a _______________.
  3. We got a big order from Sweden this morning. Things are getting better but _______________ , so I don’t want to be too optimistic.
  4. They were only together on their holiday and drifted apart shortly after, it was just a _______________!
  5. During the _______________, I always plan a long vacation to the cooler climes of the mountains.
  6. She loved to entertain and was a real _______________.
  7. It is impossible to run a large symphony orchestra _______________ or to run good opera cheaply.
  8. Visitors can _______________  in our garden by the pool, after having lunch on our terrace.
  9. Watching that game was so stressful—I was like a cat _______________  the whole time!
  10. The weather that week was _______________. It exceeded all records of previous heatwaves.

Answer key:

  1. Stop chasing rainbows.
  2. A fair-weather friend
  3. One swallow doesn’t make a summer.
  4. Summer fling.
  5. Dog days of summer.
  6. Social butterfly.
  7. On a shoestring.
  8. Soak up the sun.
  9. A cat on a hot tin roof.
  10. Hotter than Dutch love.

Do you want to learn more seasonal idioms? Read about spring idioms, winter idioms, and autumn idioms.