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Calm before the storm

  • The calm before the storm is an idiom that has skyrocketed in popularity since the twentieth century. An idiom is a commonly used word, group of words, or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery or metaphors, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the etymology or origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. An idiom is a metaphorical figure of speech, and it is understood that it is not a use of literal language. Figures of speech like an often-used metaphor have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom, which may use slang words or other parts of speech common in American slang or British slang, is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions and idiomatic language such as hit the sack, spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, silver lining, back to the drawing board, barking up the wrong tree, kick the bucket, hit the nail on the head, face the music, under the weather, piece of cake, when pigs fly, and raining cats and dogs, because they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. English phrases that are idioms should not be taken literally. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the phrasing of the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker; it is helpful to maintain a list of phrases, common expressions, colloquial terms, and popular expressions to memorize that are used figuratively or idiomatically. We will examine the meaning of the idiom calm before the storm, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.



     

    The calm before the storm is a period of peace that occurs before a time of conflict. The calm before the storm is a time of unease, because one believes that an outbreak of difficulty is imminent. The expression calm before the storm is most probably derived from a bit of seafaring folklore; however, the idiom calm before the storm only came into popular use in the mid-1800s, and it exploded in the twentieth century. There may be some scientific truth in the phrase calm before the storm. The weather in advance of a storm may indeed be calm, because the advancing storm is pulling warm, moist air out of the atmosphere, leaving a vacuum. In recent times, the calm before the storm has often been used to describe the time before one of the world wars.

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    Examples

    “The calm before the storm,” wrote Firmo, describing the photos of a clear sky over Legaspi City, Albay that he uploaded on his Facebook account. (Sun Star)

    The Bay Area is forecast to have the driest humidity levels, the strongest winds, and highest wildfire risk of the year Sunday night, but this morning the region saw the calm before the storm. (San Francisco Chronicle)

    CBTS stands for ‘calm before the storm,’ and WWG1WGA stands for ‘Where we go one, we go all,’ which has become an expression of solidarity among Q followers.” (Christian Post)


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