Have you ever looked outside, shivered, and thought to yourself, “It’s dog cold out there”? Well, if you’re French, you might have said, “il fait un froid de canard” (it’s duck cold). It’s a peculiar quirk of languages that we turn to animals to describe the weather. Let’s take a humorous stroll around the world to see how various cultures use their fauna to express just how chilly or warm it is.

In England, when the cold wind cuts like a knife, they simply say, “It’s freezing.” Quite direct and to the point. But in France, they think of ducks. One wonders if a Frenchman ever looked up at the sky, saw migrating ducks, and exclaimed, “Ah, Henri, see those ducks? Must be cold!” And just like that, a phrase was born.

But if you think the French have the market cornered on animal-weather idioms, think again.

Venture to Germany, and when the thermometer drops, they exclaim, “Es ist hundekalt!” Yes, you guessed it, “It’s dog cold.” Which might make you picture German Shepherds wearing tiny little jackets. And if you travel south to Spain, you’ll find it’s still “dog cold” or “Hace un frío de perros.” I guess dogs universally got the short end of the stick, or rather, the cold end of the bone.

Italy didn’t want to be left out. Italians also cry out, “Fa un freddo cane” during cold snaps. One could surmise that European dogs are leading a chilly revolution against winter.

Now, the Portuguese, always wanting to be distinct, will tell you, “Está um frio de rachar,” translating to “It’s a cracking cold.” No animals here, but you can just imagine the ground splitting apart due to the cold. That’s some potent imagery!

Slide over to Russia, and it becomes poetic: “Зима в шапке” meaning “Winter in a hat.” It paints quite a picturesque scene of winter dressing itself up, preparing for a night out in Moscow.

If you’re looking for something more dramatic, Chinese won’t disappoint: “冷得像冰窖” or “Cold like an ice cellar.” Now, I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been in an ice cellar. However, I can already feel the chill seeping into my bones.

Our journey continues to Japan, where the phrase for a bitter cold day is “骨まで凍るような寒さ.” It means “Cold enough to freeze the bones.” Not just the skin, mind you, but deep down into the very marrow. Intense, isn’t it?

The Dutch, probably after skating on their many canals, simply say, “Het is ijskold,” or “It’s ice cold.” You’ve got to love the Dutch for their straightforwardness.

But wait! The Swedes decided that dogs and ducks were too mainstream. So they went with pigs. “Det är svinkallt” in Swedish is, “It’s pig cold.” Why pigs? Who knows? Maybe a Swedish pig once remarked, “Brrr, I could use a blanket.”

Poland didn’t want to be left out of the animal game. They declare, “Jest psi mróz” or “It’s a dog frost.” Now, I’m genuinely curious what a “dog frost” looks like. Perhaps a frost that fetches your newspaper?

Norway keeps it simple with “Det er iskaldt,” meaning “It’s ice cold.” Maybe after witnessing a fjord freeze over in seconds, they decided, “Yep, that’s the term for us.”

But for the grand finale, we travel to Finland, where they declare, “On kylmä kuin ryssän helvetissä,” translating to, “It’s as cold as in a Russian’s hell.” Now, that’s not just cold; that’s a legendary level of cold!

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