Weather Thesaurus Entry: Frost

WEATHER is an important element in any setting, providing sensory texture and contributing to the mood the writer wishes to create in a scene. With a deft touch, weather can enhance the character’s emotional response to a specific location, it can add conflict, and it can also (lightly) foreshadow coming events.

However, caution must accompany this entry: the weather should not be used as a window into a character’s soul. The weather can add invisible pressure for the character, it can layer the SCENE with symbolism, it can carefully hint at the internal landscape, but it must never OVERTLY TELL emotion. Such a heavy-handed approach results in weather cliches and melodrama (a storm raging above a bloody battle, a broken-hearted girl crying in the rain).


Sight: surfaces (car hoods, flower petals, blades of grass) covered in a thin layer of ice, a sparkling effect as the sun catches it–increasing as the air warms and the ice melts, leaf edges…

Smell: a clean, cold smell

Taste: ice

Touch: icy coldness that immediately crumbles or melts from the warmth of your hand, a crusty cushion beneath your shoes

Sound: brittle crunching as you step, a drip of melting frost, the tinkling sound of frost falling from high surfaces to the ground below…


Mood: The first frost of the year usually occurs in the fall and hints that summer is over and cooler weather is coming. For this reason, early frosts can put a person in mind of upcoming changes, whether welcome or not. Frost also has a fresh, crisp quality that can elicit…

Symbolism: transformation, new beginnings and second chances…


Don’t be afraid to use the weather to add contrast. Unusual pairings, especially when drawing attention to the Character’s emotions, is a powerful trigger for tension. Consider how the bleak mood of a character is even more noticeable as morning sunlight dances across the crystals of fresh snow on the walk to work. Or how the feeling of betrayal is so much more poignant on a hot summer day. Likewise, success or joy can be hampered by a cutting wind or drizzling sleet, foreshadowing conflict to come.

Weather is a powerful tool, helping to foreshadow events and steer the emotional mood of any scene.

Need more detail regarding this weather element? Good news! This thesaurus has been integrated into our new online library at One Stop For Writers. There, not only has the information in each entry been enhanced and expanded, we’ve also added scenarios for adding conflict and tension. The entire thesaurus is also cross-referenced with our many other descriptive collections for easy searchability. Registration is free, so if you’re interested in seeing a sampling of the fully updated Weather and Earthly Phenomenon Thesaurus, head on over to One Stop.


Becca Puglisi is an international speaker, writing coach, and bestselling author of The Emotion Thesaurus and its sequels. Her books are available in five languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. She is passionate about learning and sharing her knowledge with others through her Writers Helping Writers blog and via One Stop For Writers—a powerhouse online library created to help writers elevate their storytelling. You can find Becca online at both of these spots, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.
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9 years ago

We have had frost and now heading into spring and looking forward to Thankyou for this.

9 years ago

Cool post! I am looking forward to having the first frost of autumn.

Marian Perera
9 years ago

I like frost (as opposed to deep snow or slick ice that sends me crashing to the ground). Frost is like a delicate coat of icing sugar. And as you said, it has that indefinable cold clean “frost” smell.

Cynthia Chapman Willis

I love this post, especially now that September is here and summer is leaving. I’ve got weather on my mind. Did you know that? ; )

Christina Lee
9 years ago

EXCELLENT points- thx!!

Talli Roland
9 years ago

I love when grass fronts over. So beautiful.

9 years ago

Beautiful, crystallized picture. I can hear the snap of it as it breaks beneath my body weight.

9 years ago

Awesome post! I’ve never thought to use frost before to symbolize something. Thanks for the inspiration!

The Golden Eagle
9 years ago

I love frost–especially the way it looks on the windows or on a field, just before it melts. 🙂

Martha Ramirez
9 years ago

Another useful post! Thanks. I enjoy reading what you guys come up with next:)

C.R. Evers
9 years ago

Awesome post and great picture!

Carrie Butler
9 years ago

I love the post, but I’m praying it won’t frost for a long, long time. I’m not ready for the cold yet! 😉

Gail Shepherd
9 years ago

One of the most memorable usages of frost and snow for me was in Game of Thrones (the book, still haven’t seen the TV series). I feel like I can still taste the air up on that frozen wall at Castle Black.

9 years ago

Great post.
ANd I am not looking forward to the first frost. I love summer!

9 years ago

I’m chilly now! But in a good way. I love fall and this reminds me so much of it!

9 years ago

I’m chilly now! But in a good way. I love fall and this reminds me so much of it!

Karen Lange
9 years ago

I’m getting chilly just reading about this! That’s not a bad thing though, it’s in the mid 90’s here today!

Michael Offutt
9 years ago

Such a chilling picture. You realize because of this post…people will come up with as many “cold” adjectives as possible, right?


Shannon O'Donnell
9 years ago

I love the picture! The emotional trigger of mood on this one is awesome! 🙂

Angela Ackerman
9 years ago

The only cliche I can think of would maybe be pairing frost with the emotion anger like a ‘frosty look’ (but I’m guilty of using that one, lol)


Bish Denham
9 years ago

Oh brrrrrrr. But it should would feel nice to have some cool weather right about now…and lots of rain.

I know she’s busy, but I have something for Angela over at my blog.

Matthew MacNish
9 years ago


Laura Pauling
9 years ago

I love walking on frosty crunchy grass it’s one of my favorite things to do. 🙂 Thanks guys!