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News from Greece: “Raphael” and “Sophia” bring snow Posted by on Jan 4, 2019 in News, Vocabulary

Καλή Χρονιά! 2019 entered bringing snowfall and low temperature and many remote villages became snowbound. “Raphael”(Ραφαήλ)  is the name given to the weather phenomenon that welcomed the New Year, by the Greek scientists of the National Observatory of Athens. “Sophia” (Σοφία), a new phenomenon, started yesterday and it is expected to bring  snow in Στερεά Ελλάδα (Sterea Ellada), Θεσσαλία (Thessaly), Μακεδονία (Macedonia) , Θράκη (Thrace), Βόρειο Αιγαίο (the North Aegean islands) and Εύβοια (Evoia).Today snow is falling in some of the Ionian islands, which is a rather rare phenomenon. The Hellenic National Meteorological Service gave a severe weather warning and advised people do be careful when driving.


Petrarakos via Pixabay



In a previous post, I have presented a list of words about the weather for beginners. These are standard words, but how do people talk about bad weather? Which expressions do they use? Read the following list of colloquialisms to find out:

#1. έχει ψοφόκρυο: «Ψόφος» means death. We use this expression when the cold it is very cold.

Δεν θα πάω πουθενά απόψε. Δεν έχω όρεξη να βγω με τέτοιο ψοφόκρυο. / I will not go anywhere tonight. I am not in the mood of going out in such a cold weather.

#2. ο παλιόκαιρος: from παλιό- +καιρός. It is a derogatory term meaning bad weather.

Είναι ανάγκη να βγεις έξω με αυτό τον παλιόκαιρο; / Do you really need to go out in such a bad weather?

#3. χαλασμός Κυρίου (catastrophe made by the Lord) or χαλάει ο κόσμος (the world is destructed): these are phrases we use in cases of extreme weather or natural phenomena.

Άκουσες τι έγινε σήμερα; Πλημμύρισαν σπίτια, εκκενώθηκαν χωριά… Χαλασμός Κυρίου! / Did you hear what happened today? Houses got flooded, villages were evacuated… A true disaster!

#4. ξεπαγιάζω: to feel freezing cold

Ποπο, ξεπάγιασα! Δεν μπορείς να φανταστείς τι ψοφόκρυο κάνει έξω! / I got freezing cold! You can’t imagine how cold it is outside!

#5. τουρτουρίζω: to tremble (from cold).

Δώσε στο παιδί ένα πουλόβερ, τουρτουρίζει! / Give the child a sweater, she is trembling!

#6. το δάγκωσα: from δαγκώνω which means “to bite”. It means to get cold.

«Κάνει κρύο έξω;» «Ναι, το δαγκώσαμε!» / “Is it cold outside?” “Yes, we got very cold!”

#7. The last one-and my favorite- is το μπιλοζίρι. It comes from “below zero” and is used by the Greeks in North America. I first heard it by a Greek-Canadian in a bus and thought it was very creative.

«Είχατε βαρύ χειμώνα φέτος;» «Ναι, έκανε κάτι μπιλοζίρια…» / “Was the winter heavy this year?” “ Yes, it was below freezing…”


ulleo via Pixabay

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About the Author: Ourania

Ourania lives in Athens. She holds a degree in French Literature and a Master’s degree in Special Education for Children. Since 2008, she has been teaching Greek to foreigners.