Essential vocabulary for upper-intermediate students
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Seasons and weather
Word choice: cold, cool, hot, warm, chilly, freezing, boiling, baking, heated.
COLD means at a lower temperature than cool, often one that is not comfortable.
COOL often suggests a pleasantly low temperature.
Ex.: I hate cold weather. It’s lovely and cool in here.
In the same way, HOT suggests a higher temperature than warm, or a temperature which would not be comfortable for a long period.
WARM often suggests a pleasantly high temperature: The hande is too hot to touch. I could lie in a warm bath for hours.
When talking of cold air or weather people often say it is CHILLY or if it is very cold, FREEZING or BITTERY COLD. Very HOT weather is BOILING or BAKING.
Close – warm and uncomfortable;
Stifling – hot, uncomfortable, you can hardly breathe;
Humid – hot and damp, makes you sweat a lot;
Scorching – very hot, often used in positive contexts;
Boiling – very hot, often used in negative contexts;
Mild – warm at a time when it is narmally cold.
Chilly – cold, but not very;
Frost – thin white coat of ice on everything;
Hoar-frost – thick coat of ice that looks white and powdery;
Sleet – rain and snow mixed;
Slush – dirty, brownish, half snow, half-water in the street;
Blizzard – snow blown by high winds;
Snowdrifts – deep banks of snow against walls, etc.
Thaw – change from hard, frozen state to normal;
Melt – change from solid to liquid under heat.
The wet weather scale gets strongest from left to right:
damp→drizzle→pour down (downpour)→torrential rain→flood
damp – slightly wet, often in an unpleasant way;
drizzle – weather that is between mist and rain;
pour down – to rain heavily without stopping;
downpour – a lot of rain that falls in a short time;
torrential rain – very heavy rain;
flood – to make a place become covered with water;
shower – a short period of rain;
thunderstorm – a storm with thunder and lightning;
hailstones – small balls of frozen rain;
hail – frozen rain drops which fall as hard balls of ice;
overcast – very cloudy;
drought – a long period od dry weather when there is not enough water for plants and animals to live.
Breeze – a gentle wind
Blustery – wery windy: a cold and blustery day
Gale – very strong wind
Hurricane – violent storm, compare cyclone, typhoon, tornado
Haze – light mist caused by heat
Mist/misty – light fog, often on the sea, or caused by drizzle
Fog/foggy – quite thick, associated with cold weather
Smog – mixture of fog and pollution (smoke + fog)
1. Match each word with a word in the bold
1. thunder 2. torrential 3. Down 4. Heat 5. Hail 6. Snow 7. Gale
Stones drift storm warning rain wave pour
2. What types of weather are bad or good for doing these things
Example: Skiing bad: mild weather; good: cold, clear days
1. Planting flovers in garden.
2. Having an evening barbecue.
3. Going out in a small sailing boat.
4. A day of sightseeing in a big city.
5. Camping out in a tent.
6. Looking at ships through binoculars.