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English Idioms and Expressions for the Summer

English Idioms and Expressions for the Summer

Another hot summer is here!

When we think of the summer season, many fun things come to mind, such as vacations, traveling and spending time at the beach. On the other hand, you may also think of super hot days that make you want to stay inside all day long.

This time, we would like to introduce some English idioms and phrases that you can use during the summertime. Some refer to fun activities, while others are related to heat — and trying to avoid it! 

Catch some rays

A young woman catching some rays on the beach on a hot summer day

You can't count sunlight, but we do refer to sun rays, or beams of light, in plural. "Catching some rays" is a very casual way of saying "sunbathe," or relaxing in the sun. People catching some rays are usually trying to get a tan.

Let's go to the beach and catch some rays!
I love catching some rays on our deck on a hot summer day.

Soak up some sun

This is another expression for sunbathing, so its meaning is just like "catch some rays."

Is Ben home?
He's soaking up some sun in the backyard.
I like to soak up the sun on the beach whenever I can.


"Scorch" is a verb meaning "to burn," but it also includes the nuance of damage or harm caused by the heat. Summertime usually has many hot days, but a "scorcher" is a day that is especially hot. 

Tomorrow's going to be a scorcher, so you should cut the grass today.
Yesterday was a scorcher, so we tried to stay inside as much as possible.

Beach read

A "beach read" is a book to read while relaxing on the beach. They are usually short and have stories that are not too serious. In other words, big, heavy novels and difficult textbooks are not beach reads!

I recommend this book; it's a great beach read.

“Make hay while the sun shines”

A man jumping off a cliff into the ocean on a hot summer day

This expression means "don't miss the opportunity" or "enjoy things while you can."

We will have a few days of sun this week, so let's make hay while the sun shines and plant the veggies in our garden.

*"Veggies" is an informal way to say "vegetables."

Prices are very low right now, so we should make hay while the sun shines and buy now.


"Dipping" something means to quickly put it into water or another liquid. For example, you may dip your French fries into ketchup or your foot into the bath to check the temperature. 

In the summertime, it's often used as a noun to talk about swimming. To "take a dip" or "go for a dip" means to go swimming, usually for a short amount of time.

Let's go for a dip in the pool.
The kids are going to go for a dip before we have to pack and leave the hotel.

Summer blockbuster

Summer is usually when Hollywood movie studios release big, expensive movies with lots of action and lots of famous actors. Think about Marvel movies or films from the Mission: Impossible or Fast and the Furious series. These types of films are called "summer blockbusters."

It seems like there's a new summer blockbuster being released every week this month!

Beat the heat

This popular expression means avoiding the summer heat by going somewhere away from the sun's rays or by doing other activities that can keep you cool.

We like to beat the heat by going to the movie theater and watching summer blockbusters.
Having a cold shower on a hot summer day is a good way to beat the heat.

Summer fling

A couple enjoying a summer fling on a beach at sunset

This refers to a short romance that lasts only for the summer. In general, "fling" as a noun is a short period of very fun or wild behavior.

I heard that Jenny had a summer fling with a boy from summer camp.
Hearing that song reminds me of a summer fling I had while on vacation a few years ago.

The dog days of summer

This expression refers to the hottest period of the summer. If you are wondering why it includes the word "dog," it is named after the Dog Star, which can be seen from the Northern Hemisphere, or the northern half of the world, from July to August.

It's been over 35 degrees all week.
The dog days of summer are here.
I love going for a swim in the lake during the dog days of summer.

Indian summer

This term refers to periods of warm weather in the fall, after summer has officially ended. It came about because of the very warm weather in much of the area where Native Americans (sometimes called "American Indians") lived in the 18th century.

It's pretty warm for a November day. I guess this is what people call an Indian summer.
Let's take advantage of this Indian summer and go on a road trip.

“One swallow doesn’t make a summer”

This expression is another way of saying that one good thing happening doesn't mean good things will continue to happen.

We were really lucky today, but one swallow doesn't make a summer.
My soccer team won our first game of the season, but one swallow doesn't make a summer.


Summer is a very special time for many people, from students to farmers. Perhaps that is why there are more expressions related to this season than for other times of the year. Did you already know any of the ones we've listed? Get into the spirit of the season and try using some when chatting with your friends or with a tutor!