Blow Hot and Cold – Idiom, Meaning & Origin

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

Ready for a temperature change? Because I’m going to tackle a phrase that might have you reaching for a thermometer: blow hot and cold. But don’t worry, no thermals or ice packs are needed. This one is more of a climate of words.

To Blow Hot and Cold Meaning Explained

Blow Hot and Cold Idiom Meaning Origin

When someone is said to blow hot and cold, they’re not testing out a new air conditioner. Instead, it means they’re being indecisive or inconsistent, especially in their moods or opinions. One moment they’re all in, and the next, they’re completely disinterested. Talk about unpredictability!

Different Tenses You Can Use

And, of course, we can blow hot and cold in various tenses. Here are a few examples:

  • Blowing hot and cold: She’s been blowing hot and cold about the new project lately.
  • Blows hot and cold: He often blows hot and cold about his career choices.
  • Blew hot and cold: They blew hot and cold on the deal until the very last minute.

Origin and Etymology of Blow Hot and Cold

This phrase owes its existence to one of Aesop’s fables, “The Satyr and the Traveler.” In this story, a satyr witnesses a man blowing on his hands to warm them and then on his soup to cool it. Confused by the man’s contradictory actions, the satyr decides to end their friendship. Quite a hot and cold reaction, isn’t it?

Blow Hot and Cold Synonyms

Synonyms make the world go round! They break up repetitiveness in writing and make you sound well-traveled. Switch things up and use any of these words instead of blow hot and cold.

  • Vacillate
  • Waver
  • Flip-flop
  • Dither
  • Hedge
  • See-saw
  • Oscillate

Using Blow Hot and Cold in a Sentence

Blow Hot and Cold Idiom Meaning Origin 1

Now let’s check out how to use this phrase in a full sentence. Context is everything, and when you’re trying to learn a new word or phrase, examples like this can really help deepen the understanding of its use.

  • Newfoundland weather in April tends to blow hot and cold, so pack a range of clothing from winter gear to rain gear.
  • The politician blew hot and cold on the issue throughout the whole campaign.
  • Mandy’s been blowing hot and cold about moving abroad for months now.
  • Dan blows hot and cold when it comes to his commitment to the soccer team this year.
  • The manager blew hot and cold over the new policy that’s pending at work.
  • Investors are blowing hot and cold on the latest tech stocks.
  • Juanita has a tendency to blow hot and cold about her fashion choices.
  • My cousin’s relationship blows hot and cold, depending on the day and sometimes the hour.

Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot (or Cold)!

And that’s the lowdown on blowing hot and cold! Language, like the weather, can be unpredictable and changeable, but that’s what makes it so fun to explore. Keep learning and check out my other guides on Grammarist, where we make every word count!