Under the Weather

Hello, it’s Freya here! I notice a lot of people want to learn more common phrases to help their English sound natural.

Therefore today, I thought I would explain a common English idiom: ‘under the weather’.

British people are famous for talking about their bad weather (yes, it is always terrible). However, don’t be fooled and think that this idiom is actually about weather! The idiom ‘under the weather’ is actually an informal term used to describe when you are feeling ill or unwell.

For example, if you are feeling ill, and someone at work asked how you are, you could say: ‘Not great, I’m a bit under the weather today.’ Another example would be if you were feeling sad and a friend asked if you were okay, you could say: ‘Oh, I am feeling under the weather.’ Typically, in response, people will show kindness and sympathy: ‘Oh! I am sorry, I hope you feel better soon!’

As the weather starts to get colder, and as people begin to get their typical winter colds, a lot of people will be telling their friends and colleagues that they are under the weather.

Notice, this is an informal phrase! If your boss asks why you missed a day at work, you should probably more specific than ‘I was feeling under the weather.’

The phrase, I learnt at university, is an old term that derives from sea voyagers. They would use it when they felt ill due to bad weather – such as feeling seasick on a stormy day. However, in modern use, it is now a generic term to simply describe when you aren’t feeling great – regardless of weather conditions.

So, when you next feel blue and someone asks how you are, try using this idiom and see if they reply with sympathy or if they try to give you an umbrella!

Today’s lesson: ‘Under the weather’ is an idiom to describe when you are feeling ill or feeling unwell.




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I live and work in the UK and have a degree in English Language and Literature. When I am not on Fruitful, I work as a teaching assistant at a school. I am passionate about the environment and love to travel and read.