the calm before the storm

the calm before the storm

Meaning

  • an extremely peaceful atmosphere right before any serious incident or crisis
  • a quiet and peaceful period of time before an argument or large activity

Example Sentences

  1. The family’s meeting on property dispute begins today and I’m just sitting down with a cup of coffee, enjoying the calm before the storm.
  2. This is just the calm before the storm, when the kids get home from school this house will be chaos.
  3. My mom gets really quiet when she is angry. We all know that it’s the calm before the storm and try to get out of her way before it hits.
  4. Don’t under-estimate the Canadian wrestler it just the calm before the storm – I am sure that he will return with tremendous force and energy.

Origin

This saying was originally used by sailors. They observed that right before a storm hit the weather became eerily calm. You have probably experienced the same thing. You might be outside and everything suddenly becomes very quiet. The birds stop chirping, everything becomes weirdly calm. A short while later clouds start rolling in.

The reason for this is that storms need warm, moist air to fuel it. When the storm is approaching it attracts all of the surrounding air towards it. That leaved a low-pressure vacuum. Air then rushes to fill the vacuum. The air that fills the void is warm, but drier than the air that was there before. The air is very stable and causes what is referred to the calm or “lull” before the storm.

The phrase has been used (in various forms) since the 1700s. It was mentioned in the 1601 play “The Dumb Knight.”

Collaquintida: … but hush, no words; there is calm before the tempest*.

*tempest – very strong storm.

The idiom became part of English everyday use in the 1800s.

The silence which then prevailed was the calm before the storm; it was the ilence which precedes the approach of death, and was ominous of the fate of nations.

– James M’Queen, The campaigns of 1812, 1813, and 1814, Glasgow, 1815.

T 1 Comment

1 Comment

AuthorEllie writes on 19th January 2018

Interesting origin of this idiom.

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