13 Old-Timey Synonyms for ‘Hot’ to Bring Back This Summer
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.
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
Why say you’re “covered with sweat” when you can say you’re “besweat” or “forswat”?
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.
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.
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.
The fracedo—or “putrefying heat”—of August can make roadkill smell rank pretty quickly.
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
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.
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
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.