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Wind and Weather

Wind and Weather

Wind and Weather


dog days The most oppressively hot, uncomfortable, and unhealthy time of the year; the height of summer, usually calculated to be from about July 3 to August 11. These are supposedly the days when Sirius, the Dog Star, rises at the same time as the sun. The name dog days (Latin dies caniculares) derives from the ancient belief that the customary sultriness and un-wholesomeness of this season were due to the influence of the Dog Star. The origin of the name has also long been associated with the popular superstition that during this particular time of the year dogs were most apt to go mad. The term has been in use since the early 16th century.

gully washer A very heavy rainstorm, a downpour. This American colloquialism, particularly common in the Texas-Oklahoma area, was obviously coined because of the swirling rush of water through gullies during such storms. An especially violent gully washer is sometimes jocularly called a gully whomper. The expression has been figuratively extended to include a great onrush or outpouring of anything.

Hulda is making her bed An expression denoting a snowfall. In ancient German mythology Hulda is the goddess of marriage and fertility. Although this expression is of unknown origin, it is reasonable to conjecture that Hulda had a feather bed which she prepared for the delights of newlyweds and from which some plumes periodically escaped to fall to the earth as snow.

Indian summer A brief respite in the late autumn of North America, characterized by hazy, balmy weather. This expression is thought to have originated in New England, where the Indians took advantage of the unseasonably warm spell to make their final winter preparations. The term is used frequently in the northern United States and Canada, where this short reappearance of summer regularly occurs each fall.

Meanwhile the Indian summer continued warm and dusty on the trodden earth of the farmyard. (J. Rae, Custard Boys, 1

Like other terms denoting time of year or day, Indian summer is often analogously applied to one’s life, indicating a period of renewed vigor or health amidst a stage of general decline.

The works of his Indian Summer when, in the last five years of his life, inspiration came to him once more. (N. Del Mar, Richard Strauss, 1962)

Mother Carey is plucking her chickens Sailors’ slang for falling snow. In this expression, Mother Carey is derived from the Latin mater cara ‘mother dear,’ apparently a reference to the Virgin Mary. Mother Carey’s chickens is a sailor’s appellation for stormy petrels, friendly birds which warn sea voyagers of upcoming inclement weather. Thus, the expression likens fluffy, falling snow to small tufts of white feathers.

Queen’s weather Ideal weather conditions; magnificent weather occurring on a day set aside for a festival, picnic, or other outdoor activity. This expression originated from the disproportionate number of fine days which coincided with Queen Victoria’s public appearances.

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