35 ways to say it’s cold

Natasha Brooks at Llyn Idwal

Gelid,  frosty, biting, brumal: you think the Eskimo’s have it all when it comes to talking about cold? Here are a variety of words to describe how your swim may be feeling.

ALGID [al-jid] –adjective. Cold; chilly.

ARCTIC [ahrk-tik] –adjective. Extremely cold, frigid.

BITING [bahy-ting] –adjective. Nipping; smarting; keen.

BITTER [bit-ar]  -adjective. Causing a sharply unpleasant, painful, or stinging sensation; harsh.

BOREAL [bawr-ee-uhl] –adjective Of or pertaining to the north wind.

BRISK  [brisk] – adjective. 1. Quick and active; lively.  2. Sharp and stimulating.  3. To make or become brisk; liven

BRUMAL [broo-muhl] –adjective. Wintry. Of, pertaining to winter.

CHILLY [chil-ee]–adjective 1. Mildly cold or producing a sensation of cold; causing shivering; chill.  2. Feeling cold; sensitive to cold.  3. Without warmth of feeling; cool/

COLD [kohld] –adjective 1. Having a relatively low temperature; having little or no warmth.  2. Feeling an uncomfortable lack of warmth; chilled.  3. Having a temperature lower than the normal temperature of the human body.

COOL [kool] –adjective 1. Moderately cold; neither warm nor cold: a rather cool evening.  2. Feeling comfortably or moderately cold: “I’m perfectly cool, but open the window if you feel hot”.  3. Imparting a sensation of moderate coldness or comfortable freedom from heat.

Natasha Brooks, Llyn Glaslyn

FREEZING [free-zing] –adjective 1. (of temperatures) approaching, at, or below the freezing point.  2. Extremely or uncomfortably cold; chilled.  3. Beginning to freeze or partially frozen; in the process of being or becoming frozen.

FRIGID [frij-id] –adjective 1. Very cold in temperature.  2. Without warmth of feeling; without ardor or enthusiasm.

FRORE [frawr, frohr] –adjective. Archaic. Frozen; frosty.

FROSTY [fraw-stee, fros-tee] –adjective. 1. Characterized by or producing frost; freezing; very cold.  2. Consisting of or covered with a frost 3. Lacking warmth of feeling; unfriendly.

GELID [jel-id] – adjective: Extremely cold; icy.

GLACIAL [gley-shuhl] –adjective 1. Of or pertaining to glaciers or ice sheets.  2.  Characterized by the presence of ice in extensive masses or glaciers.  3 bitterly cold; icy: a glacial winter wind.

HIEMAL [hahy-uh-muhl] –adjective. Of or pertaining to winter; wintry.

ICY [ī’sē] adjective. 1 Containing or covered with ice. 2. Bitterly cold; freezing

INCLEMENT [in-klem-uhnt] –adjective 1. (of the weather, the elements, etc.) Severe, rough, or harsh; stormy.  2. Not kind or merciful.

KEEN [keen] –adjective. 1. Sharp, piercing, or biting. 2. Intense, as feeling or desire.

NIPPY [nip-ee] 1. Chilly or cold 2. Sharp or biting; tangy:

NUMBING [nuhm-ing] –adjective. Causing numbness or insensibility; stupefying

ONE-DOG NIGHT. Expression. A night so cold you need to sleep with a dog to keep warm. A two-dog night implies it’s really chilly.

PENETRATING. [pen-i-trey-ting] –adjective 1. Able or tending to penetrate; piercing; sharp

PIERCING [peer-sing] –adjective 1. Extremely cold or bitter. 2. Caustic; cutting

POLAR [poh-ler] –adjective 1. Of or pertaining to the North or South Pole.

Natasha Brooks, Llyn Idwal

RAW [raw] –adjective 1 unnaturally or painfully exposed, as flesh. 2. Brutally harsh or unfair. 3. Disagreeably damp and chilly

RIMY [rahy-mee] –adjective. Covered with rime. Rime, noun: A coating of ice, as on grass and trees, formed when extremely cold water droplets freeze almost instantly on a cold surface.

SEVERE [suh-veer] –adjective. 1. Harsh; unnecessarily extreme: 2. Grave; critical. 3. Causing discomfort or distress by extreme character or conditions. 4. Difficult to endure, perform, fulfill, etc

SHARP [shahrp] –adjective 1. Having a thin cutting edge or a fine point. 2. Keenly cold, as weather. 3. Felt acutely; intense; distressing . 4. Merciless, caustic, or harsh. 5. Fierce or violent.

SHIVERY [shiv-uh-ree] –adjective 1. Inclined to or characterized by shivers, quivers, or tremors.  2. Causing shivering.

SLEETY [slee-tee]–adjective. Of, pertaining to, or like sleet.  Sleet: Precipitation consisting of generally transparent frozen or partially frozen raindrops. A mixture of rain and snow or hail. A thin icy coating that forms when rain or sleet freezes, as on trees or streets.

SNAPPY [snap-ee] –adjective. 1. Apt to snap or bite 2. Crisp, smart, lively, brisk. 3. Pleasantly cold and invigorating.

STINGING [sting-ing] – adjective. 1. To cause to feel a sharp, smarting pain by or as if by pricking with a sharp point. 2. To cause to suffer keenly in the mind or feelings.

WINTRY [win-tree] –adjective. 1. Of or characteristic of winter. 2. Resembling winter weather; having snow, frost, cold, storms, etc 3. Suggestive of winter, as in lack of warmth or cheer.

  • From Kate Rew’s Wild Swim
  • With thanks to fine artist Natasha Brooks for sharing her imagery. See more of Tasha: Blue Hue, & Instagram @natasha_brooks. We also feature Natasha on the OSS Instagram feed @theoutdoorswimmingsociety.
Words: Kate Rew
Pictures: Natasha Brooks