pour cold water on


pour cold water on
also throw cold water on


  • deter or discourage somebody
  • to deter someone from doing something
  • to discourage someone from a goal or mission
  • to minimize enthusiasm
  • the phrase is also used to speak about dousing something with water that is cold, literally

Example Sentences

  1. It is not nice to pour cold water on someone’s plan when you do not want to be a part of it in the first place.
  2. I had to pour cold water on his plans of bungee jumping in this remote village. I just cannot be sure that the safety measures taken here are adequate.
  3. Miranda is very intelligent and hardworking girl but her step-mother always use to pour cold water on her.
  4. The vegetables seem to be fresh because she is just pouring cold water on them.
  5. I often pour cold water on my son’s head to wake him up completely. Cruel as it may seem, it gets him to college on time.
  6. She throw cold water on the activity by saying that she will not be participating.


This is one of those phrases that started out as literal and then as per usage became figurative. Although the literary origin of this phrase is not known, it has come from the realms of not liking being poured by cold water. Similarly the figurative use became to dampen high spirits about doing something.

Share your opinions3 Opinions

I bet it comes from Chinese. There is an exactly same saying in Chinese, a word by word match, with exactly the same meaning。And the Chinese dislike cold water – no shower in cold water, no drinking of cold water.

‒ haoming May 21, 2020

You should do the actual cold water from the rain you know nice try on people lives up 🙂

‒ Melanie October 10, 2017

Your website is amaizng! This year I was assigned 7th grade English, which I haven’t taught for 10 years. A lot of things have changed since then, and your website has helped me tremendously! I have even told my high school English teacher about your website. THANKS SO MUCH!!!

‒ Emre February 23, 2015

What's on your mind?