Carla: I just saw the news, and it’s going to be 97 today! I don’t want to
leave our air conditioned house.
Ken: I know! I went outside to take out
the trash, and the sun was scorching!
Carla: I’m not going to the movie.
Fine by me; let’s see if we can find something to watch on TV.
Meaning: Literally, “scorch”
means to burn the exterior of something so that it is burnt or charred (for
example, a blackened piece of chicken that is charred on the outside). However, an American will sometimes say that
the weather is “scorching,”
meaning that it is very hot. The idiomatic meaning of “scorch” suggests a person getting
burnt by the sun, but it doesn’t literally mean that the sun will blacken the
person’s skin. In the example above, Ken uses the idiomatic meaning of “scorch” to emphasize how hot the
sun is – not that he actually got his skin burnt. Alternatively, there is another word with a
similar idiomatic meaning, as seen below:
Ken: Why did you go outside? You know
how hot it is.
Carla: I know, but I left my purse in my
car yesterday! Unfortunately it was too late.
It was roasting in there, and
my makeup was all ruined!
Ken: Oh no! Was there a lot of makeup?
Fortunately, I had only taken a few things with me last night, but it
melted my favorite lipstick.
Ken: That’s too bad – sorry to hear
Meaning: In this case, Carla uses the word “roast,” which is usually used in
cooking (for example, a roasted
turkey) to idiomatically explain how hot it was in her car. Since roasting
is used for an enclosed heat, the idiomatic meaning is most often used when
something is hot because it is closed up (for example, Carla’s car), but it
isn’t limited to that use, and a sunbather who sits out in the sun for too long
and burns his/her skin can be said to have roasted
This week, we have been covering
American idioms related to heat due to the high temperatures in Los Angeles.
For more information, please visit: www.languagesystems.edu