How Hot Is It?

hot-159386_1280Summer is winding down (coming to an end) in the U.S., and Matt Pace is probably glad to see it end.

Pace is the weatherman for a TV station in Phoenix, Arizona. And in a recent interview, he said that he has a problem: finding different ways to describe how hot it is in Phoenix every day.

Phoenix is the hottest city in the U.S. It is hotter than 90 degrees F (32° C) almost 170 days every year. In July the average temperature is 106° (41° C); in August it’s 104° (40° C). In 1990, Phoenix experienced the hottest temperature ever recorded (measured and written down) in a U.S. city – 122 degrees F (50° C).

When Pace was asked about his dilemma (problem), he said, “I go, ‘It’s hot,’ or, ’It’s above average,’ or, ‘It’s going to be extremely warm today.’” He continued, “There’s always, ‘It’s really hot out there,’ or, ‘It’s hot, hot, hot,’ or just, ‘Triple (3x) hot!’” One day this summer, Pace asked his Twitter followers: “Tired of hearing us say ‘It’s hot?’ Me too…so what are other ways we can say ‘It’s hot’.”

There are a number of different ways to describe hot days – to avoid saying “very, very, very hot,” and to make your description more interesting and informative.  Here are some that I thought of:

  • blazing | a blaze is a bright, hot fire | a blazing August afternoon
  • roasting | to roast something is to cook it in an oven or over a fire | a roasting hot day, or, I’m roasting in this coat.
  • scorching, scorched | to scorch is to burn the surface of something; when you scorch fabric, it usually turns brown | the scorching July sun; the desolate (empty), scorched landscape (area of land, usually with grass and other plants)
  • searing | to sear something, like meat, is to burn it quickly with a sudden powerful heat | the searing heat of the desert
  • sizzling | sizzling is the sound when you drop water on a very hot surface and drops of water “dance” on the surface | a sizzling afternoon
  • stifling | so hot that it’s difficult to breath | It’s stifling outside today; The stifling heat made it difficult to be outside yesterday.
  • sweltering | uncomfortably hot; so hot that you feel weak (less strong) | the sweltering afternoon heat
  • sultry or muggy | hot and the air feels humid (wet) | It will be sultry (or muggy) today.
  • unbearably hot | so hot it’s almost painful; you can’t bear it (take it) | It was unbearably hot yesterday.

Another possibility is to compare the heat to something that people might be familiar with, for example: Stepping outside today is like stepping into a blast furnace – a blast furnace is a very hot furnace used to melt metals (make them liquid).

Can you think of other ways to say “it’s hot” in polite conversation?

~ Warren Ediger – ESL coach/tutor and creator of the Successful English website.

The photo of the thermometer is in the public domain.


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7 Responses to How Hot Is It?

  1. Pete says:

    Thanks Lucy
    Thanks Jeff
    Recent episodes couldn’t be better

    Beautiful episodes
    Awsome !!!
    I m getting a kick out of them
    They have substance
    That is for sure

    Thanks Lucy
    U have outdone urself
    Just beautiful


  2. Aecio Flavio Perim says:

    I have to leave a comment about weather. In brazil the weather i sometimes hot and sometimes cold but not too cold, only in southern states and it is hot in northern states. The temperatures never goes over 40 Celsius degrees and never under -5 Celsius degree. Most of time the temperature is fair. Regularly there is sun ever4y day. Rain is not frequent. It is good to live in Brazil in spite of violence in the big cities,
    From Brazil

  3. Pete says:

    Hey Warren
    I think u pretty much covered it

    I use almost all above describing a smouldering summer afternoon.
    Some times I simply say
    It is a “still hot lazy Sunday afternoon.”

    That is pretty much it
    I can’t think of any more common terms either
    English language is a word language
    There sure a ton of words portraying a boiling afftermoon but I for one think ,they are not as common as what Warren listed on the post.
    I don’t know about phonyx
    But here in Toronto
    It is freezing in the morning and boiling in the afternoon
    Subsequently , I wear a jacket leaving my place early in the morning and carry my jacket around the entire day.
    U know
    Past 9 Am it becomes too warm for wearing a jacket
    I enjoy every bit of the heat as the forcast for this year is:
    Harsh winter , a lot of snow fall , hail and snow storms accompanied with gusting wind and windchill

    U don’t know how good u have it my friend

    Drop by in Toronto late January , early February just for a few days
    And no longer a peep will come out of u when the heat wave hit the city of ur residence

    I trade places with u any minute of the day


    An eslpod premium member

  4. Pete says:

    Very useful , informative post Warren

    Thanks a bunch

    An Eslpod premium member

  5. Hilario says:

    Weather report in Spanish TV has been having a huge media presence lately and people in general seems to be well aware and up to the last minute about the changes in weather and specially tendencies for the next weekend.

    No doubt weather forecast is very useful as its access turns into essential working data for some people from many jobs like taxi drivers, bar owners, hoteliers and so forth, who had not before that such immediate access to it and because of this lack they could lose their money some times and now they can take better business minded decisions.

    But some other people think that the people who are permanently speaking about the heat and complaining by saying how hot it is, increase a lot the so called thermal perception like if this talking lifts the surrounding hot sensation around all the presents in mind and body. Where I live with summer days of more than 40º C. and during several days or even weeks, a bar owner and insightful bartender has written on his tapas board that “For general wellbeing, it´s banned to speak about the heat”

  6. emiliano says:

    Hot has been the conversation nearly of everybody here in Spain, and yes it has been a blazing summer
    without any doubts.
    I Know it clearly because I need to travel till the village where my wife is now, I have not car so it has
    been my task to take the subway and the bus to get the point near the place where she is. After that
    walking for nearly half an hour.
    So yes, it has been stiffling for me outside walking with more than 40 C degrees one day and another.

    Not been so I would be at home with air conditioner without going anyplace if it was not necessary.
    Having to work under the sun or walking full day like mailmen it is another question, for them I think
    it has been an unbearably hot summer, really dreadful hotter than other.

    Some time ago I read Phoenix could be the most hotter than hell big city of the world.
    I wouldn´t like to live over there as I hate such an horrible heat.

    My best dear Warren, emiliano

  7. Camara Mohamed Moussa says:

    I really thank you Lucy and of course knowing different ways to express something is really important in a language in order to avoid making ears bored and fed up of hearing one expression every time.

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