Posted by ESC on December 12, 2003
In Reply to: Weather's closing in & 'murky' posted by James Briggs on December 12, 2003
: : : : The current weather where I live has been extremely stormy for the last few days. But for some brief moments we've received glimmers of sunshine.
: : : : This morning started out dreary, then the sun shone briefly. As the heavy clouds came over again, my partner said, the 'weather's closing in'.
: : : : I've heard this often enough, but it's an odd thing to say really. ie. Weather is a generic word which covers all types of weather, inclement, fine, dry, wet, hot, cold, whatever. So to begin with, why do we know and assume that when such a comment is made, that the 'weather' being described will be stormy, and why 'closing in'?
: : : In the U.S., I haven't heard "Weather's closing in." I've heard similar remarks, such as "Looks like we're going to get some weather," which is equally open to the same objection. We always have some weather.
: : : "Closing in" at least has the merit of suggesting that feeling of being trapped under storm clouds that you get when there's...weather.
: : Since 'weather' is, by definition: the state of the atmosphere with respect to heat or cold, wetness or dryness, calm or storm, clearness or cloudiness, then to say that it is 'closing in, seems reasonable if clouds, mist, rain, etc., conspire to restrict visibility. However, to say we are 'to get some weather' implies that it has previously been absent and since this cannot be it's preferable to qualify the type of weather expected.
: We've had a spate of 'mist & murky weather' use on British radio a TV weather forecasts recently. I thought to myself, 'I know what a mist is, but what is 'murk'?' None of my friends and aquaintances could offer a definition, so I looked it up. It is probably derived from Old Norse 'mykr'= 'darkness' and is defined as 'gloomy darkness'.
: Is the term used other than in Britain?
Yes, as in "murky water," etc.
A friend had a Spanish-speaking neighbor who was new in the U.S. and she was helping her with her English. I was amused to hear the neighbor comment on the weather, "It's comin' up a storm." She was learning English West Virginia style.