English Idioms Inspired by Summer – by Oana Măcroiu

How do you spend your time in the dog days of summer? Do you prefer to soak up the sun or get lost with your head in the clouds during the summer holidays? Wait. What? Dog days of summer? What does that mean? Ahh, idioms! That’s right, we’re focused on a few summer idioms you can use in your English conversations.

The following summer-inspired idioms are perfect for daily conversations with friends and at work.

Like Watching Grass Grow

If something is like watching grass grow then it means it is super boring. Grass grows very slowly and it’s not exciting to watch, is it?

  • It’s been raining all week and there’s nothing to do! This summer is like watching grass grow.

A Fair-Weather Friend

This sounds like it could be positive but it’s not. Fair weather is another way of saying nice or good weather. But a fair-weathered friend is someone who is only your friend when things are good. If challenges or difficulties start, then your friend is gone and not there to help you.

  • I was so hurt during the divorce when I realized that Alice was such a fair-weathered friend. I really thought she would be there for me during that difficult time but she disappeared from my life as soon as things got hard.


Travel on a Shoestring

Summer is a season when usually go on vacation and travel. To travel on a shoestring or a shoestring budget means to travel very cheaply. For example, you might stay in youth hostels instead of a hotel. The goal is to spend as little money as possible.

  • When I was a college student I didn’t have any money so I always traveled on a shoestring.

Soak Up Some Sun

To soak up some sun means to lie in the sun and enjoy the sun’s rays on your skin.

  • I can’t wait to get away and soak up some sun on the beach next week! It’s the perfect way to relax during a summer vacation.


Have a Green Thumb

To have a green thumb means that you are great at gardening or have a natural talent for gardening. It is important to note that this can only be used for gardening or growing plants; this idiom cannot be used for other natural abilities.

  • Wow! Look at your vegetable garden! It’s so vibrant and full – you must have a green thumb! Unfortunately, no matter how hard I try, I can’t keep any plants or flowers alive.


Social Butterfly

A social butterfly is someone who likes to be around people, who likes the company of others. This is someone who loves talking to everyone at the party and can do so easily, moving from one person to the next.

  • John is such a social butterfly! He’s out every night of the week and knows everyone in this city. I don’t know how he has so much energy!


Dog Days of Summer

The dog days of summer are the hottest days of the summer. These are the days that are so hot, you don’t have the energy to do anything but sit. These are also periods of time when nothing is really happening.

  • I wish I could go home from work early today. It’s impossible to get any work done during these dog days of summer!


Summer Fling

A summer fling is a short romance or dating relationship during the summer period; it’s a romance that isn’t meant to be serious or long-term. Imagine a boy and girl who date only during the summer and then stop their romantic relationship at the end of summer.

  • I can’t believe Susan’s a teenager already! She had her first summer fling with a boy from summer camp but thankfully it wasn’t too serious. I’m not ready for her to grow up so fast!

Full of Hot Air

To be full of hot air means to be full of nonsense or to have nothing to say that makes sense. This expression can be used when someone says things that sound like nonsense or aren’t believable.

  • Why are so many politicians full of hot air? It’s hard to believe anything they say!