12 Idioms about Summer
1. To be off on your vacation
Meaning: In this context, the phrase “to be off” means to be leaving to do something. In British English, you can be “off walking the dog”, “off to the shops” or, like in this case, “off on vacation”.
Origin: First used in the early 19th century to refer to being away, “be off” used to be more commonly used as a command, like “be off or I’ll call the cops!”
Example: My friends are off on their vacation in Turkey at the moment.
2. Travel on a shoestring
Meaning: To travel on a shoestring means to have a shoestring budget, which is a small budget. When you’re traveling on a shoestring, you’ll probably be using inexpensive accommodations like youth hostels, taking advantage of special offers and discounts, and trying to spend as little money as possible.
Origin: It’s believed that the origin of the term “shoestring” refers to traveling peddlers (street sellers) who sold small trinkets, including shoelaces.
Example: I really learned how to travel on a shoestring when I studied abroad.
3. To take a shine to someone
Meaning: The next of our holiday idioms, this one means to like or feel attracted to someone you’ve just met, especially in a romantic sense. For many people, the best case scenario when traveling is to meet somebody new who you connect with – or take a shine to – right away.
Origin: This American idiom emerged in the 1880s from the related phrase “to shine up to someone,” which meant to try to win somebody’s favor or attract them. If you’d succeeded at shining up to someone, they’d take a shine to you.
Example: My younger brother has really taken a shine to you.
4. Thrown in at the deep end
Meaning: Referencing the deep end of a pool where you can’t stand up and are forced to swim, this idiom means to put someone in a new situation or under pressure, without proper preparation or introduction. If, for example, somebody gives you a new task at work without telling you how to do it, they’d be throwing you into the deep end.
Example: On my first day in this job, I was asked to give a report to the board of directors. I was really thrown in at the deep end!
5. To make hay while the sun shines
Meaning: The next of our sun idioms means to do something while a situation allows you to, because the situation may not last very long. It references the temporary, fleeting nature of life.
Origin: The first recorded reference to this idiom comes from John Heywood’s 1546 “A dialogue conteinyng the nomber in effect of all the prouerbes in the Englishe tongue”. It’s believed to come from medieval English farmers, who would have had to rush to cut, dry, and gather hay while the weather was still sunny.
Example: I have a few more days before I have to leave for home, so I may as well make hay while the sun shines and go sightseeing as much as possible.
6. A drop in the ocean
Meaning: The next summer idiom means “a small amount of something compared to what is needed,” or a relatively insignificant amount.
Origin: This idiom is biblical in origin, first appearing in a middle English translation of the Bible in 1382 to 1395.
Example: Thirty thousand dollars is a drop in the ocean when you think about the millions that will be spent on this film.
7. Like water off a duck’s back
Meaning: This idiom is used to say that things such as criticisms or insults do not affect or bother someone, perhaps because they have dealt with a lot of them before. They simply slide off of the person, like water sliding off a duck’s back.
Origin: This idiom comes from the 1800s, referring to the fact that ducks’ feathers are coated with a unique, water-resistant oil that makes them impervious to water droplets.
Example: Tom constantly criticizes Larry, but he ignores it and the criticism is like water off a duck’s back.
8. Like a fish out of water
Meaning: The next on our list of summer idioms is also water-related. This one refers to the feeling of being uncomfortable in an unfamiliar situation.
Origin: A potential origin point for this idiom comes from the famous writer Geoffrey Chaucer in something he wrote in 1483. The idea is that somebody out of place might feel as strange as a fish out of water.
Example: I went to an office party last night, and I really felt like a fish out of water. I have nothing in common with those people.
9. Indian summer
Meaning: The king of all summer idioms, this idiom is used to refer to a hot, summerlike period that occurs in mid-autumn.
Origin: This is a late 18th-century idiom referencing Native Americans, and the fact that Indian summers were typical in areas populated mostly by indigenous people.
Example: The Indian summer has been unexpectedly long this year.
10. The dog days of summer
Meaning: The next idiom on our list that is related to summer is used to talk about the hottest part of summer, occurring in July and August.
Origin: This summer idiom comes from ancient Rome, referring to when the constellation Sirius – the dog star – appeared to rise just before the sun, around July.
Example: During the dog days of summer, it’s too hot to work outdoors.
11. Rain or shine
Meaning: Saying that something will occur “come rain or shine” means that it will happen regardless of the circumstances.
Origin: The earliest recorded use of this idiom occurred in 1699 in “Astro-meteorologica, or Aphorisms And Large Significant Discourses on the Natures and Influences of Celestial Bodies” by John Goad, and it has been popular since at least the mid-19th century.
Example: Come rain or shine, we will have our wedding this weekend.
12. Summer fling
Meaning: A summer fling is a summer romance, usually short, sweet, and temporary.
Origin: The word "fling" means to toss or throw something away, like you might do with a summer romance once the season ends.
Example: We met while she was here on vacation and I was off from school. It was a great summer fling.