Tag: Weather


noun. Coolness; adj. Cool and crisp

By Cold, and by a kinde of Frescour (as we now-a-days speak).
Bacon’s Life & D. (1627)

OED says noun, but there are some wonderful ways to use it as an adjective as well.

The first four letters of frescour are the same as those in fresh for a reason. Frescura is Italian for “having the quality of freshness.” Frescour is something so fresh that it’s cool. It’s like biting into a fresh cold cucumber. Frescour seems to carry with it the meaning of “crisp” as in a crisp cucumber, but frescour has the lovely coupling of texture and temperature.

Now say “frescour cucumber” ten times fast.

This morning was a rather frescour morning. Fall has finally started; the days are getting colder, the clouds stay in the sky longer, the ugly-sweater-gift-from-last-Christmas is making appearances. The weather channel says it’ll be a frigorific 57°F tonight (very cold for those who have only ever lived in Southern California). Brrrr!

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adj. Producing cold.

Data for determining the frigorific effect of the ice on the temperature of the Pole.
An account of the artic regions, William Scoresby (1820)

It’s summer right now but when winter comes again it’ll be friggin’ frigorific! “Frig” as in “frigid” means, of course, cold.  And “-rific” is uninterestingly enough a respelling of the French word “frigorifique.”

For the purpose of my own satisfaction let’s say that it’s from “terrific,” so that Frigorific now means “terrifically cold.” People make up words all the time, who says I can’t change definitions or etymologies?

The original meaning was used in science but, as always, figurative use is much more fun.

A frigorific torpidity of despair chilled every sense.
Zastrozzi, Percy Bysshe Shelley (1810)

He sure had a way with words! And now you can too.

“Mom! This meatloaf is frigorific!” … “Silence, you old frigorific hag!” … “The frigorific weather and bigger rigor made him wiggle and wriggle like Tigger and he lost his vigor.” Say that one five times fast.

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verb. To be extremely hot (weather)

It vesuviates. This sudden heat in the atmosphere has something to do with the eruption of the mountain which killed Pliny the Elder. The inner fire of this planet cannot come to the surface without affecting the whole atmosphere.
Thoughts in My Garden, Mortimer Collins (1880)

What a neat word! It’s picturesque almost. I see a volcano erupting and feel the heat that those 9 letters contain.

Most well-educated people (and who knows how many of those there are with the budget that schools are getting) know something about Mount Vesuvius, at least they know it’s a volcano. So if you happen to use this word — and you should — your partner in conversation will most likely gather you are speaking of something cataclysmic.

That’s hot.

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