by | Mar 19, 2024 | Communications, Jargon, Language | 0 comments

Cultural stereotypes – and plenty of polling – suggest that Brits frequently talk about the weather’.

I agree. I certainly talk about it a lot. And I’d argue we all need to know about the weather. There aren’t many scenarios where the weather doesn’t matter at all. Or maybe, as a dog owner (and gardener/grower), I’m more biased because there can’t be a ‘shut the curtains, we aren’t going anywhere day’ – ever.

What I need from a weather forecast is usually quite simple. Optimum dog walk time? Can I put a wash on? Do I need my big coat? And is there a chance I’ll see The Northern Lights?

However, more frequently these days I am coming across weather terms I just don’t understand.


Low/high pressure – seriously was I off school the day they taught this?

Wintry rain – is that not sleet?

Convection – isn’t that a type of cooker?

I follow a local weather bloke on X/Twitter (for the above reasons – dog walks, washes, big coats and northern lights) @ChadWeather (real name Jon) and I asked him where he learned these terms as a weather forecaster (with a full-time job which isn’t the weather) and about his favourite weather words.

“I learned weather terms when I became interested in the weather. This happened in 1980/81 when I lived in Pittsburgh. I saw a frozen Niagara Falls and the weather variation got me interested.

Weather words I like:

Graupel – which is soft hail/snow pellets like polystyrene.

Diurnal – the temperature range from the lowest to highest temperature throughout the day. Mostly mentioned when the range is vast or very small.

Mizzle – Drizzle and mist.

Petrichor – Earthy smell when it rains after a long dry spell, especially after warm weather.

Apricity – the warmth of the sun on your face during early-winter or late-winter.”

I was delighted that Jon mentioned two of my faves there and two I actually know – petrichor and apricity. Wonderful words to add to your weather vocabulary.

But what about Northern nanny, dinderex, specking and feefle? Yup, all weather terms too – there’s more here.

Whilst my weather-related needs are quite basic, along the lines of that oft misquoted Billy Connolly line ‘there’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes’, I can remain both fascinated and a tad confused by the language of weather, and, according to that BBC piece ‘Creativity when it comes to creating weather expressions is unlikely to stop any time soon.’