Discover English summer idioms and Expressions for a sunny language boost in one delightful read.

Whether you adore or dislike the warmth, summer typically brings a flurry of activity for many. Perhaps that’s why there’s an abundance of English idioms associated with the season.

In this article, we present 12 of the most prevalent summer-related expressions in English, allowing you to impress your friends at the beach. Let’s not delay and dive into the list!

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Summer idioms

Like water off a duck’s back

Meaning:This expression conveys that criticisms or insults have no impact on someone, possibly because they have encountered many of them in the past. The person remains unaffected, much 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.

ExampleTom constantly criticizes Larry, but he ignores it and the criticism is like water off a duck’s back.

Like a fish out of water

Meaning: Continuing with our summer idioms, the next one is also connected to water. It describes the sensation of feeling uneasy or 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.

ExampleI 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.

Indian summer

Meaning: The ultimate summer idiom, this expression is employed to describe a warm, summer-like spell that occurs in the middle of 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.

ExampleThe Indian summer has been unexpectedly long this year.

To be off on your vacation

Meaning: In this context, the expression “to be off” signifies departing to engage in a specific activity. In British English, you might be “off walking the dog,” “off to the shops,” or, as in this instance, “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!”

ExampleMy friends are off on their vacation in Turkey at the moment.

Travel on a shoestring

Meaning: To embark on a shoestring journey implies having a limited budget, characterized by frugal spending. Traveling on a shoestring typically involves opting for budget-friendly accommodations like youth hostels, capitalizing on special offers and discounts, and aiming to minimize expenses as much 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.

ExampleI really learned how to travel on a shoestring when I studied abroad.

To take a shine to someone

Meaning: The following holiday idiom signifies having a liking or romantic attraction to someone you’ve recently met. For many individuals, the ideal scenario while traveling is to encounter someone new with whom they immediately connect or develop a fondness for.

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.

ExampleMy younger brother has really taken a shine to you.

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The dog days of summer

Meaning: The subsequent idiom in our list, associated with summer, is employed to describe the hottest period of the season, typically experienced 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. 

ExampleDuring the dog days of summer, it’s too hot to work outdoors.

Rain or shine

Meaning: Stating that something will happen “come rain or shine” signifies that it will occur irrespective of the conditions or 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. 

ExampleCome rain or shine, we will have our wedding this weekend.

Summer fling

Meaning:A summer fling refers to a brief, sweet, and temporary romantic involvement that takes place during the summer.

Origin: The word “fling” means to toss or throw something away, like you might do with a summer romance once the season ends.

ExampleWe met while she was here on vacation and I was off from school. It was a great summer fling

Why use idioms?

As unconventional as they may sound at times, idioms are an integral part of how native speakers communicate, contributing depth to the language. If you aim to sound like a natural or native English speaker, incorporating idioms into your conversations is an excellent approach.

The most effective way to enhance your use of idioms is through speaking practice, particularly with native speakers. Seize the opportunity and start using some summer idioms to improve your fluency!

What is your English level?

Find out your A1 A2 B1 B2 C1 C2 level of English with our quick, free online test.