¡Qué rasca! Spanish expressions for winter

Observe, friends, this scene from last night:

I’m not sure which detail is more startling–the wonky wording on this poster or the fact that these party animals chose to enjoy their ice-cold beers outside.

Because, damn, it’s been cold around here (even in Andalucía, as Haley will tell you). Of particular note is the fact that my school’s thermostat is in constant competition with the temperature of the outside world. Not surprisingly, the radiator has become the new water cooler and knows all the hot gossip.

How can you sum up the fact that you lost feeling in your toes without resorting to the simplistic ‘Hace mucho frío’? Here are a few colorful phrases you’ll hear in Spain:

Me estoy congelando

– The least interesting phrase on the list, this means “I’m freeeeezing!”

 Está cayendo una (que no te tapa la cabeza se te congelan las ideas)

– A much better way to employ “congelar,”  this expression means “It’s so cold that my ideas are freezing!” You can either use the entire sentence or cut it down to ” Está cayendo una.”

¡Vaya pelona! / Hace un frío que pela

–          Both of these, said through chattering teeth, convey the idea that, surprise, surprise, it’s cold up in here.

Hace un frío del copón

–          Just like the popular use of “hostia,” the holy wafer, “copón” refers to the receptacle from which the “hostia” springs. (Copón is “ciborium” in English, FYI.) Wikipedia can neither confirm nor deny whether it’s really that cold inside the container.

Hace un frío del carajo  / Hace un frío de cojones

–          “It’s bloody freezing!” / “It’s goddamn cold!” Throw these around carefully, as they’re more vulgar than the other expressions.

Hace un frío de mil demonios

–          After reading this expression one day, I did what any brazen language-learner does–I  used it. As a result, my friend Ruth fell out of her chair, and, between peals of laughter,  informed me that only Spanish grandmothers use this expression.

¡Qué rasca!

–         If you only learn one expression from this list, choose this one. A synonym of “frío,” the easy way to remember rasca is the phrase “¡Qué rasca, Nebraska!” Bust it out and a few eyebrows are sure to raise (but in a positive way, the opposite of the reaction you’ll receive with “Hace un frío de mil demonios”).

It’s freezing outside, go use your cold-weather words.

What other expressions do you know to tackle the cold?

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  1. My co-teachers’ favorite phrase is definitely, “¡Que frío!” Since I hear it about six hundred times a day, I’ll have to start using some of these to switch things up. Thanks!

  2. Cassandra

    Ha, I didn’t even include that one!

    Have fun with the new terms 🙂

  3. Más frío que robando pingüinos!!!

  4. Cassandra

    Cat, I’ve never heard that one but I love it. Definitely adding that one to the ‘ole vocab bag.

  5. Thanks for the shout out. And why is it STILL so cold?!

  6. Hace un frío que ni en la boda del yeti!

  7. I always hear “hace mas rasca que Alaska!” How funny that two U.S. states can be used to compare the cold, what about Russia?!

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