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cold snap

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noun
  1. a sudden onset of a relatively brief period of cold weather.
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Origin of cold snap

An Americanism dating back to 1770–80
Also called cold spell.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for cold-spell

cold snap

noun
  1. a sudden short spell of cold weather
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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Idioms and Phrases with cold-spell

cold snap

Also, cold spell. A short period of unusually cold weather, as in The recent cold snap has threatened the crop. The first expression presumably likens snap in the sense of “a sudden bite or cut” to sudden unexpected cold. The variant is more obvious, spell having been used in the sense of “a bout or turn at something” since the early 1700s. [Early 1800s]

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.