10+ German Idioms about the Weather

The weather is a popular topic of light conversation in Germany, as it is all over the world. Here are some rain and shine related B1/B2+ level idioms and expressions, to spice up your small talk in German 🌤.

weather god sitting in the clouds, pouring down buckets of rain
27.03.2022

Whilst summertime in Germany can be a beautiful experience, welcoming months of barbecuing in the warm sun, wintertime can be windy, snowy and teeth-chattering-ly chilly. In between the sunshine and snow, you can expect to see all sorts of weather across the country, including blizzards and rain. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that the German language boasts quite a few, colourful, weather-focused idioms, suitable for all types of weather. Let’s take a look at a short list of them, right here:

Es regnet in Strömen

You know when you’re on the way to some important appointment, when the weather Gods decide to wreak havoc on your unassuming soul and release a pool-full of water upon your head? When rain is pouring down hard and fast, like hard enough to peel the mascara off your face in a matter of seconds? On these occasions, you could say (wail) “Verdammt! Es regnet in Strömen!”, which literally means that it’s pouring with rain, and is the German equivalent to the English “It’s raining cats and dogs!”.

Ich kann noch nicht nach draußen gehen, weil es immer noch in Strömen regnet.

I can't go outside yet because it's still pouring.
Ich hoffe, dass es während unserer Hochzeit nicht in Strömen regnen wird.

I hope it won't rain cats and dogs during our wedding.

Es regnet wie aus Eimern 🪣

Much like “Es regnet in Strömen”, “Es regnet wie aus Eimern” can also be used to describe heavy rain, in this context as though falling in buckets.

Warum wartest du nicht noch eine Weile, bevor du die Bar verlässt? Es regnet wie aus Eimern!

Why don't you wait a while before you leave the bar? It's raining like cats and dogs!
Ich glaube, ich werde heute etwas später bei der Arbeit sein, weil es draußen wie aus Eimern gießt.

I think I'm going to be a bit late for work today because it's raining cats and dogs outside.

Es gießt 🚰

Yet another expression to describe pouring rain, “Es gießt” can be used in more informal situations, as a colloquialism. Because the word “gießen” is commonly used in the context of watering plants - “Ich gieße die Blumen” - it may be helpful to remember the expression by imagining a large watering can pouring water through it’s spout from the sky, drenching everybody in rain.

Schau mal nach draußen! Es gießt! Hast du einen Regenschirm dabei oder soll ich dir einen leihen?

Look outside: it's pouring. Do you have an umbrella with you or shall I lend you one?

Das Hundewetter 🐶

When all is grey, wet and stormy.. When there is mud all over the streets, or perhaps a nasty blizzard howling away outside, you may describe the terrible weather as “Hundewetter”. To remember this expression, here is an idea: have you ever seen a dog off the leash and on a walk, after it’s rained, running straight for the giant puddles to roll about in? Some dogs absolutely love playing in the mud, and for this reason it may be helpful to think of wet and gloomy weather as perfectly suitable for them!

Example use cases:

Bei diesem Hundewetter können wir heute auch einfach zu Hause bleiben und es uns gemütlich machen.

With this terrible weather, we might as well just stay home today and get cosy.
Erwartest du wirklich, dass ich bei diesem Hundewetter Milch holen gehe?!

Do you really expect me to fetch milk in this terrible weather?!

Similar terms include: “Mistwetter”, “Schmuddelwetter”, “Sauwetter”

Das Kaiserwetter 🤴

In stark contrast to “Hundewetter”, “Kaiserwetter” is a conversational term used when the weather is absolutely gorgeous; when the skies are blue and clear, and the sun is shining - weather fit for an emperor! Apparently the term was first used during the reign of Kaiser Franz Joseph the First, whose summertime birthday was usually a sunny affair.

☝️Remember

history nugget: During the Nazi period, the terms “Führerwetter” and “Hitlerwetter” were also used in conversation, to describe good weather. Obviously, these terms are no longer used today… so don't use them.

Example use cases:

Was für ein Kaiserwetter wir heute haben! Sollen wir im Garten grillen? Haben wir genug Würstchen?

What wonderful weather we have today! Shall we barbecue in the garden? Do we have enough sausages?
Schauen dir doch einfach den Himmel an! Es sind keine Wolken in Sicht! Was für ein Kaiserwetter!

Just look at the sky! There are no clouds in sight! Today we have been blessed with really good, wonderful weather.

Schweinekalt 🐷

Much like “bitterkalt”, or “saukalt”, “schweinekalt” is an expression used to describe terribly cold weather, especially during the winter months when snow and ice can be expected. Apparently, the origin of the word is thought to be connected to pigs at the farm, which were traditionally slaughtered at the beginning of winter, as the weather turned bitter cold - making for a perfect environment to store the meat. Whether that is true or not, the connection may be helpful in remembering this conversational German word!

Example use cases:

Draußen ist es schweinekalt und grau. Es ist vielleicht nicht die beste Zeit, um zum Supermarkt zu gehen, aber wir haben wohl keine Wahl!

It's freezing cold and grey outside. It might not be the best time to walk to the supermarket, but I guess we have no choice!
Oh Gott, es ist schweinekalt! Schnell, mach die Heizung an und schließ die Türen.

Oh God, it's freezing cold! Quick, turn on the heating and close the doors.

(Etwas) Sonne tanken ☀️

When your car is out of petrol/battery, you may say “Ich muss Auto tanken”. Similarly, when autumn and winter has passed, and you’re running low on vitamin D, you may say “Ich muss Sonne tanken”. This expression is commonly used to refer to days spent out in the sun, soaking up the sunshine and the warmth, and getting one’s fill of it until winter comes around again, with it’s gloomy days.

Example use cases:

Vergiss nicht, am Wochenende Sonne zu tanken. Am Sonntag sollen es um die dreißig Grad sein! Perfektes Wetter für einen Tag am See!

Don't forget to soak up the sun this weekend. It's supposed to be around thirty degrees on Sunday! Perfect weather for a day at the lake!
Gestern habe ich den ganzen Nachmittag auf dem Bauernhof verbracht, um Früchte für die Marmeladenherstellung zu pflücken. Ich habe wirklich etwas Sonne getankt!

Yesterday I spent the whole afternoon at the farm picking fruit for jam making. I managed to really soak up some sun!
Ich habe vor, heute an den Strand zu gehen, um etwas Sonne zu tanken.

I plan to go to the beach today, to soak up some sun.

Es gibt kein schlechtes Wetter, es gibt nur schlechte Kleidung

When you live in a country with such diverse weather, from rain to snow to sunshine, it’s important to be prepared for anything! Over the years, you may invest in a good, thick coat, some gloves and thick socks, for snowy days. For the rain, you may have a waterproof parka, with a hood. For afternoons out in the mud, you might have some knee-high rubber boots. Fully equipped to handle rain or shine, you may then use the German expression: “Es gibt kein schlechte Wetter, nur schlechte Kleidung”, that means nobody has an excuse not to venture out into a gloomy day of terrible weather. All you need is suitable clothing!

Example use cases:

Komm mir nicht mit deinen Ausreden, Paul! Es gibt kein schlechtes Wetter, nur schlechte Kleidung. Jetzt hol deinen Mantel, und lass uns Feuerholz hacken gehen.

Don't give me your excuses, Paul! There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes. Now get your coat and let's go chop some firewood.
Ich bin so froh, dass wir diese Herbstwanderung gemacht haben, auch wenn wir eine Zeit lang durch den Regen laufen mussten. Es hat sich gelohnt, für diese schöne Aussicht! Es gibt kein schlechtes Wetter, nur schlechte Kleidung.

I am so glad we did this autumn hike, even if we had to walk through the rain for a while. It was worth it for this beautiful view! There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes.

Ich bin doch nicht aus Zucker

As a child, it may have been the case for you that whenever it rained or snowed, you felt the urge to go out and play outdoors, perhaps sparking the concern of a parent or two. Feeling fully capable of handling the rain / snow / wind / beating sun, we may shake our heads with impatience as our parents advise us to stay inside, and say: “Ich bin doch nicht aus Zucker”. As sugar can melt in the rain or heat, this German phrase is used to express that one is not as delicate, and can withstand unpleasant weather.

Example use cases:

Warum lässt du mich nicht mit Balou draußen spielen? Ich bin doch nicht aus Zucker!

Why don't you let me play outside with Balou? I'm not made of sugar!
Keine Sorge, ich komme schon klar. Es ist nur etwas Regen und ich bin nicht aus Zucker.

Don't worry, I'll be fine. It's just a bit of rain, and I'm not made of sugar.
Hör auf, dich zu beschweren, und geh deinem Großvater auf dem Feld helfen! So heiß ist es draußen nicht, und du bist nicht aus Zucker.

Stop complaining and go help your grandfather in the field! It's not that hot outside, and you're not made of sugar.

Die Affenhitze

On very hot days, when it’s sweltering, you’re covered in sweat and only getting through the day with the help of ice lollies and iced coffee, you may say “Heute gibt es eine Affenhitze”. Alluding to the tropical climates that monkeys commonly inhabit, the term “Affenhitze” is reserved for the hottest days of summer, and is usually used to complain about the weather.

Example use cases:

Boah, ist das heiß heute! Die Sonne knallt! Was für eine Affenhitze.

Wow, it's hot today! The sun is beating down! What an awful heat.
Vergiss nicht, viel Wasser zum Picknick mitzubringen, denn heute gibt es eine Affenhitze.

Don't forget to bring plenty of water for the picnic, because it's awfully hot today.
Wenn es eine Affenhitze gibt, arbeite ich im Keller, wo es viel kühler ist.

When it's awfully hot, I work in the basement where it's much cooler.

Bei Wind und Wetter

So it’s the end of the lockdown, and you haven’t been able to enjoy the food at your favourite restaurant for over a year now. For the first time in forever, the doors are open, and there’s a table waiting just for you. You’re on your marks and ready to go. Nothing is going to stop you from reaching your destination, come rain or shine. In the German version of this scenario, a fantastic expression you could use here is: “Bei Wind und Wetter”. As in: “Bei Wind und Wetter werde ich es zu meinem Lieblingsrestaurant schaffen, das sage ich dir!”. The expression is used to suggest loyalty or commitment to something (or, in some cases, somebody). It’s a way to say “No matter what happens, I will … etc, etc”.

Example use cases:

Dass junge Menschen tagelang bei Wind und Wetter so viel Energie für ihre Leidenschaften aufbringen können, beeindruckt mich.

That young people can devote so much energy to their passions for days on end, no matter what happens, impresses me.
Bei Wind und Wetter strömen die Besucher in die Ausstellung des historischen Museums, um die älteste Mumie der Welt zu sehen.

No matter the weather, visitors flock to the exhibition of the historical museum to see the oldest mummy in the world.
Tag für Tag, bei Wind und Wetter, verspreche ich, dich von ganzem Herzen zu lieben.

Day after day, no matter what, I promise to love you with all my heart.

Die Sonne knallt

When it’s so bright outside, that you must shade your eyes with your arms to see before you, or it’s so hot outside that the top of your head feels like it could fry an egg, then you may say “Oh Gott, wie die Sonne knallt!”. In this context, the word “knallen”, means “to beat down”, as in: “the sun is beating down”, and is used to describe a particularly sunny day.

Example use cases:

Die Sonne knallt so stark, ich sollte mich besser eincremen und meinen Hut holen.

The sun is beating down so hard, I'd better put some sunscreen on and get my hat.
Ich warte auf einen Tag, an dem die Sonne wirklich knallt, bis ich an den See gehe.

I'm waiting for a day when the sun is really beating down, to go to the lake.
Louise, ich habe Kopfschmerzen und die Sonne knallt wie verrückt. Kannst du nicht bis zum Sonnenuntergang warten, bevor wir zum Laden gehen?

Louise, I have a headache and the sun is blazing down like crazy. Can't you wait until sunset before we go to the shop?
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