13 Old-Timey Synonyms for ‘Hot’ to Bring Back This Summer

'Lady with a Parasol' by Impressionist Hamilton Hamilton.
'Lady with a Parasol' by Impressionist Hamilton Hamilton. / (Painting) Art Renewal Center, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain; (Background) Mental Floss

You can only talk about how hot it is during the summer so much before the word starts to lose its meaning. So here are 13 colorful terms of yore that will help you describe your sweaty suffering all season long.

1. Adurent

A heat wave amid a drought could be called “adurent,” a 17th-century term for “burning; hot and dry,” according to the Oxford English Dictionary.

2. and 3. Besweat and Forswat

victorian man blots sweat in front of a lady
Tough to impress a lady when you're forswat. / duncan1890/DigitalVision Vectors/Getty Images

Why say you’re “covered with sweat” when you can say you’re “besweat” or “forswat”?

4. Birsle

Birsle is a Scottish verb meaning “to scorch (the surface) with radiant heat,” per the OED. You might be birsled after a day at the beach with no sunscreen.

5. Calefy

The Latin verb calēre means “to be hot,” which is where we get calefy, meaning “to heat.” The sauna can calefy you into a big, sweaty mess.

6. Fire-Fanged

wilted, dried-out corn crop
Fire-fanged corn looks like how you feel in July. / Douglas Sacha/Moment/Getty Images

The term fire-fanged, meaning “damaged by excessive heat,” was once a common way to describe crops that were overheated and dried out by the sun. But there’s no reason you can’t use it to describe yourself under those circumstances.

7. Fracedo

The fracedo—or “putrefying heat”—of August can make roadkill smell rank pretty quickly.

8. Madid

You might call the relentless humidity of a Southern summer “madid.” The word, meaning “wet” or “moist,” isn’t confined to meteorological contexts. In his 1844 novel Coningsby, Benjamin Disraeli described one character’s “large deep blue eye” as “madid and yet piercing.”

9. Mastiff Day

mastiff lying on the floor
This mastiff looks like it's enduring a mastiff day. / James Gill - Danehouse/GettyImages

The expression dog days refers to the Northern Hemisphere’s hottest stretch of summer, so named because it coincides with the Dog Star’s (Sirius’s) heliacal rising. What’s even hotter than a dog day? A mastiff day, according to English writer Horace Walpole.

“Last week we had two or three mastiff days; for they were fiercer than our common dog-days,” he wrote in a 1781 letter. The punny phrase never caught on, but nobody’s stopping you from popularizing it among your peers.

10. Mooth

If the humidity is so stifling you can’t even bring yourself to get off the couch, you’re mooth—a Scottish term with possibly Scandinavian origins that means “exhausted by heat.” Mooth (and moothy) can also be used to describe humid weather itself.

11. Muck Sweat

illustration of 19th-century german hikers
This muck-sweating hiker clearly can't hang. / clu/DigitalVision Vectors/Getty Images

To be in a muck sweat is to be sweating profusely (or panicking, if you’re being metaphorical). You can also say you’re “all of a muck of sweat” or even just “all of a muck.”

12. and 13. Sweltry and Swoly

The word sweltering is our modern-day way of describing oppressive heat. But feel free to take a page out of 16th-century books and use sweltry or swoly instead.

Are you a logophile? Do you want to learn unusual words and old-timey slang to make conversation more interesting, or discover fascinating tidbits about the origins of everyday phrases? Then pick up our new book, The Curious Compendium of Wonderful Words: A Miscellany of Obscure Terms, Bizarre Phrases, & Surprising Etymologies, out June 6! You can pre-order your copy on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, or Bookshop.org.