The Sweltering Words of Summer

Looking for a variety of words to choose from when complaining about how hot it is? You're in luck! There are plenty of ways to gripe about just how stifling the summer months can be.

For more, check out the article: Sweltering Words for the Nuclear Summer.

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. nuclear
    deriving destructive energy from releasing atomic energy
    A nuclear summer almost assuredly is on the way.Newsweek (Sep 21, 2010)
    Literally, anything nuclear refers to the nucleus of an atom. Nuclear energy comes from splitting the atom, and that's why you see references to nuclear weapons, nuclear power plants, and nuclear scientists. However, sometimes this term is used a bit more loosely. When an argument gets out of hand, it goes nuclear, and when the temperatures rise to preposterous degrees, you can say the weather has also reached nuclear levels.
  2. sweltering
    excessively hot and humid; marked by sweating and faintness
    Plus, it was sweltering and one groomsman wanted to shed his suit jacket.Wall Street Journal (Jul 16, 2017)
    Since the 1600s, sweltering has been a word for excessive heat. The Oxford English Dictionary describes it as, "Oppressive or overpowering with great heat; causing or accompanied by profuse sweating or suffocation through extreme heat." That's right: sweltering heat is so bad you might not even be able to breathe, literally. Sweltering isn't swell.
  3. tropical
    hot and humid
    Drivers sling hammocks in their wheel wells and sometimes wait several days in the thick tropical heat.Seattle Times (Dec 27, 2016)
    This refers to countries around the Earth's equator: the tropics. These areas, far from the chilly North and South poles, have the opposite weather: hot and steamy. This is why tropical nations such as Jamaica and the Bahamas are popular vacation spots, and it's also why tropical is a synonym for hot weather.
  4. humid
    containing or characterized by a great deal of water vapor
    “For example, in a warming world, we anticipate more unbearably humid days,” he said.Slate (Jul 5, 2017)
    One of the most annoying summer phrases—along with "Hot enough for ya?"—is "It's not the heat, it's the humidity." When humidity is high, the weather is humid. High humidity means there's a lot of moisture in the air, and when humidity reaches 100%, Mother Nature makes it rain.
  5. muggy
    hot or warm and humid
    The ocean breeze swept away the muggy heat of the summer afternoon, and it was pleasantly cool under the shade of the palmetto trees.The Mark of Athena
    Muggy has been around since at least the 1700s. Another word used for humid or muggy weather is sticky, in reference to the sweat-soaked shirts and other garments that can make summer so uncomfortable. It's one thing to be sweaty after playing basketball or ripping phone books. It's another thing to be drenched in sweat just standing there, because of monumental mugginess.
  6. oppressive
    weighing heavily on the senses or spirit
    But 50 years ago she was a pre-teen, sleeping on the porch to escape the oppressive heat, awakening to see a sky that glowed unnaturally.Seattle Times (Jul 15, 2017)
    This word usually refers to tyrannical governments that crush their people's spirits. Anything oppressive pushes down from above, which may explain why people often describe the heat as oppressive when the sun feels like the enemy, because it's just so flippin' hot. If the heat is oppressive, it's wearing down your body and spirit. Seek an air conditioner immediately.
  7. scorch
    become singed under intense heat or dry conditions
    This weekend, despite scorching temperatures, they contained the majority of the 20 more significant wildfires at a few thousand acres.Los Angeles Times (Jul 11, 2017)
  8. unseasonable
    not in keeping with (and usually undesirable for) the season
    The unseasonable warmth is part of a center of warm air shifting north across portions of the western United States, the National Weather Service said.Reuters (Apr 7, 2016)
  9. balmy
    mild and pleasant
    On a balmy summer evening with a breeze to keep the bugs away, it’s perfectly enchanting.New York Times (Jun 26, 2017)
  10. steamy
    hot or warm and humid
    It was a steamy summer day in New York in 2009 when Luke Holden, an investment banker, had a craving for a lobster roll.New York Times (Aug 24, 2016)
  11. stifling
    characterized by oppressive heat and humidity
    Arizona is seeing the most stifling temperatures, but the wrath of the heat wave is being felt across Nevada and California as well.Seattle Times (Jun 20, 2017)
  12. suffocating
    causing difficulty in breathing especially through lack of fresh air and presence of heat
    Inexperienced and struggling in the suffocating heat, Mr. Hame did not throw it far enough and was cut by shrapnel.New York Times (Mar 29, 2016)
  13. blistering
    hot enough to raise (or as if to raise) blisters
    After a weekend of blistering heat, firefighters will face additional weather-related complications, according to the National Weather Service.Los Angeles Times (Jul 10, 2017)

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