Winter: ice, skate, snow, snowball

Winter Idioms

Idiom Explanation Example
break the ice say or do something to start a conversation with strangers/relieve tension The teacher starting the lesson with a game and broke the ice.
skate on thin ice be in a dangerous or risky situation She was skating on thin ice when she asked the boss why his wife left him.
be snowed under be overwhelmed by too much of something, usually work We are snowed under at the moment. We have to finish all of our projects before Christmas.
a snowball’s chance in hell have absolutely no chance of doing something Look at all this traffic! I’m afraid you’ve got a snowball’s chance in hell of making it to that meeting.
a snowball effect something which increases in importance or size at a pace that gets faster and faster As celebrities become more famous they get more publicity which makes them even more famous. It’s a snowball effect.
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Exercise C1

Choose the correct idiom for each situation.

  1. Margaret is going to a singles party tonight. Today she has been practising jokes so she can start a conversation easily.
  2. After a very successful advertising campaign and one celebrity client the agency began signing more and more high profile clients.
  3. Gillian asked her father if she could go to the school dance even though she knew he would say no. Her father is very strict and he doesn’t like dancing.
  4. Sam has a lot of homework and study to do before his exams next month. At the moment, he can’t imagine finishing any of it and he hasn’t left his desk for hours.
  5. After the global financial crisis Moon Industries had high overhead costs and very little income, but they decided to give all of their employees a raise anyway.

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