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Hot As Blazes! North Texans Get Creative When Complaining About The Heat

Craig Chew-Moulding

August in North Texas may not be anyone’s favorite weather, but it’s peak season for creative complaining.

Bemoaning the sweltering heat is almost a hobby during the summer. And just about everyone has their own, unique way to describe it.

Scorching, blazing, searing, burning, blistering; North Texans can go all day. And those are just adjectives. When it comes to complaining about hot weather, the analogies are even more elaborate, and sometimes pretty dramatic.

“It’s so hot, I don’t think I ever want to step outside again,” says Jackie Callahan.

“I feel like I jumped into a pit of lava,” says Carson Kennedy.

Experts say the sky’s the limit when it comes to whining about the weather, but there are a few common themes according to linguistics professor Thomas Lambert from the University of Texas at Dallas.

“It’s roasting out there, it’s boiling. You can fry an egg on the sidewalk people say. So a lot of them have to do with cooking,” says Lambert.

While those expressions are pretty straightforward, there are some woolier ones. Lambert says he’s not exactly sure where “hotter than hinges” came from. As for the southern favorite “hotter than the dickens…”

“The dickens is probably a euphemism for hell or something like that or perhaps for a stronger word,” says Lambert.

If you Google just two words, “hotter than,” you’ll be treated to a number of colorful ways to finish the sentence. Some are silly, some don’t make much sense. Some are not very radio friendly.

So when it’s 103, why do we use our energy coming up with creative ways to describe the weather?

“When we talk about temperature often we give the number of degrees we have. It’s 97 degrees outside. And for many people, than doesn’t conjure up a very vivid image,” Lambert says.

On the other hand, saying “it’s hotter than two rats fighting in a wool sock,” is about as vivid as it gets.

Courtney Collins has been working as a broadcast journalist since graduating from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 2004. Before coming to KERA in 2011, Courtney worked as a reporter for NPR member station WAMU in Washington D.C. While there she covered daily news and reported for the station’s weekly news magazine, Metro Connection.