a cold spell

Discussion in 'English Only' started by quietdandelion, Jul 22, 2007.

  1. quietdandelion

    quietdandelion Banned

    Homesweethome
    Formosa/Chinese
    The weather got warm again after a cold spell, making the ice on the lake start to break up.



    I can't figure out the meaning of "a cold spell." Does it refer to "a cold front" or "a cold period" or something else? Thanks.
     
  2. nichec

    nichec Senior Member

    Chinese(Taiwan)/English(AE)
    Judging from the context, it means a period of time that's very cold. It's so cold that people start to think the weather is under a "cold spell". (I think)
     
  3. anothersmith Senior Member

    Los Angeles
    English, U.S.
    Nichec is partially right; it means a period of time, but does not refer to a magic "spell."

    Here's the relevant definition from MerriamWebster.com:

    3 a : an indeterminate period of time <waited a spell before advancing>; also : a continuous period of time <did a spell in prison> b : a stretch of a specified type of weather
     
  4. nichec

    nichec Senior Member

    Chinese(Taiwan)/English(AE)
    Ohoh, thanks! :)

    I learn something new here everyday! :thumbsup:
     
  5. quietdandelion

    quietdandelion Banned

    Homesweethome
    Formosa/Chinese
    Thanks, my dear friends.
     
  6. mjscott Senior Member

    Pacific Northwest, USA
    American English
    A spell is a certain period of time. Sometimes when I would be working with my grandmother, she would say, "Let's rest a spell before we finish this task."

    "Remember that cold spell we had last spring when all the flowers froze?"
     
  7. quietdandelion

    quietdandelion Banned

    Homesweethome
    Formosa/Chinese
    Thanks, mjscott, for your grandma's talk. It impresses me deeply.
     
  8. anothersmith Senior Member

    Los Angeles
    English, U.S.
    That reminds me of my grandmother, too! I don't think I've heard anyone say "let's rest a spell" since she passed away.

    It just struck me that although people still say "cold spell" they never say "hot spell." It's always "heat wave."
     

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