Definition of frost in English:



  • 1[mass noun] A deposit of small white ice crystals formed on the ground or other surfaces when the temperature falls below freezing.

    ‘the lanes were glistening with frost’
    ‘it is not unusual for buds to be nipped by frost’
    • ‘Though all leeks tolerate some frost, some overwinter better than others.’
    • ‘Vermont in November was hardly Siberia, but there was frost on the ground, and they spent an hour shivering and exercising to stay warm.’
    • ‘Always ensure that service pipes are at an adequate depth to prevent frost damage.’
    • ‘There was frost on the ground and a flurry of snow in the air as I set off from the car park and along the footpaths winding through woodlands and close to a meander of the River Calder.’
    • ‘The glass hit the ground like sleet on a pavement and sparkled like a morning frost.’
    • ‘As much as I dislike extreme cold, a nice frost on the lawn would not be unwelcome.’
    • ‘Water vapor will condense directly on the surface to form frost.’
    • ‘Severe ground frost is possible at night, especially if the ground is dry.’
    • ‘Native to Central and South America, peppers don't tolerate frost.’
    • ‘Once the bulbs have firmly rooted, frost is tolerated quite well and an extra cover is not needed.’
    • ‘We had set out reluctantly on a Friday evening at the end of a hard working week through a wintry countryside glittering with frost and wreathed in freezing mist.’
    • ‘Still there was no snow, but there was frost glittering on the ground.’
    • ‘You look outside and see it - that shining, shimmering gloss of frost on the ground, on the car, and in the trees.’
    • ‘There was frost on every window and icicles hung where they could.’
    • ‘Before explaining fog and frost on a window, we'll begin with water in the air.’
    • ‘Row covers trap the warmth that radiates up from the earth much like the way that a cloud cover holds temperatures and prevents frost from forming.’
    • ‘On the other hand, it was shown that epiphytic orchids survived severe frost in Mexican montane forests.’
    • ‘There's no snow yet, but occasionally I wake up to beautiful, lacy frost on my window.’
    • ‘The soft and wet grass under her shoes crunched slightly, hardened by the morning frost.’
    • ‘The sky was a clear, pale blue now, and it seemed to be drawing what heat there was from the ground, leaving only frost and little patches of dry snow.’
    ice crystals, ice, rime, rime ice, verglas
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    1. 1.1A weather condition or period of cold weather in which deposits of frost form.
      ‘following two or three nights of hard frost, my garden is a wreck’
      [count noun] ‘there have been several sharp frosts recently’
      • ‘So far we have only had a mild winter, but serious frosts and foggy weather are likely to become more frequent as we move into the New Year.’
      • ‘Frequencies of tropical cyclones, heat-waves, bushfires and frosts are also linked to the Southern Oscillation.’
      • ‘In the days before refrigeration, hogs were slaughtered and cured at the first heavy autumn frost.’
      • ‘This is especially useful if the garden is in a cold spot and prone to late frosts or if wet weather has made the soil claggy.’
      • ‘In cooler areas, plant dill a week or two before your last hard frost.’
      • ‘Drought across much of the country, particularly in areas not normally subject to drought, and late frosts have led to reductions in land based production.’
      • ‘Sow seeds indoors about six weeks before the average date of the last spring frost in your area.’
      • ‘If an unexpected frost occurs, undamaged fruits can be salvaged and ripened.’
      • ‘With good spring rains, they can survive frosts and require minimal or no watering.’
      • ‘The weather has been fine enough but there have been very sharp frosts & bitterly cold wind.’
      • ‘Mustard greens, another Southern favorite, should be planted six to eight weeks before the first fall frost.’
      • ‘He predicts sharp frosts throughout the Swindon area on both Friday and Saturday night, with temperatures only just above freezing during Christmas Day itself.’
      • ‘In particular, there is likely to be a reduction in water for southern and eastern Australia, with more fires and heatwaves, fewer frosts, less snow and more coral bleaching.’
      • ‘Fall frosts can damage actively elongating shoots in the autumn and adversely affect growth the following spring.’
      • ‘Because bushes flower in early spring, they may need protection from late-spring frosts in cold climates.’
      • ‘In each case, work should proceed after first killing frost and ideally before snow cover.’
      • ‘Weather records show that there were far more hard frosts in the 1950s before the impact of global warming.’
      • ‘In winter 1995/1996 the first hard frost occurred at the end of December.’
      • ‘Frequent frosts or inclement weather kill off pests that would be devastating to crops, or plague-carrying insects that affect the population.’
      • ‘Similarly, an autumn frost which destroys leaves can interrupt the orderly build-up of reserves in the vine.’
      cold snap, period of cold weather
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    2. 1.2A person's cold or unfriendly manner.
      ‘Caroline was shocked to hear the frost in her brother's voice’
      • ‘A sharp frost crept into relations on June 8, the day the votes were counted in the Nice Treaty referendum and the British general election.’
      • ‘Richard stood, giving Amy some papers, then left leaving the room with a cold frost.’
      • ‘Valerine heard the frost in Mint's voice as she crossed her arms across her chest and stared at them.’
      • ‘The Englishwomen never appeared to exchange any words yesterday, but the frost between them made the NIA seem closer to Turin than the Bullring.’
      • ‘In the event, the frost won and clubs absent from the Fort William conference certainly were not indulging in friendlies.’
      coldness, coolness, frostiness, ice, iciness, glaciality, frigidity
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    3. 1.3British informal, dated [in singular]A failure.
      ‘even the state soirées were a frost’


  • 1Cover (something) with or as if with frost; freeze.

    ‘shop windows were still frosted over’
    • ‘When she saw today's photos of the lake, snow on the edges of things and frosting the bones of the trees, she said, ‘Oh.’’
    • ‘Now, if most of you are like me, you know the heat isn't getting turned on until the windows are frosted over, so there's gonna be a lot of tip-toeing around, wool gear and heavy blankets, seen?’
    • ‘We frosted the panes using white paint, and shaved a little off its length.’
    • ‘Underneath the navy blue blazers, cocktail napkins and frosted champagne glasses lie this barren layer.’
    • ‘Even in her newly repaired car her breath clouded, frosting the windows further more.’
    • ‘My face, though frosted with new snow, has a warmth in the cheeks that defends the bone.’
    • ‘Then the first cold front rolls in, slays the mums, frosts the lawn, whistles down the chimney and signals the reign of the new season.’
    • ‘Steam puffed from the mouths of the quarterbacks as they barked out the plays, and from their teammates as they huffed each bone-chilling breath; at the end, Fisher's mustache was frosted over.’
    • ‘Sunlight from outside made the ice frosting the windowpanes glow.’
    • ‘The room beyond the metal door was cold, explaining why the window of the door was frosted over (delayed reaction, understandable during these circumstances).’
    • ‘Through the grimy, age frosted windows I could see where we had entered the complex earlier.’
    • ‘I am always suspicious of pubs whose windows are not frosted.’
    • ‘Snow had fallen and was covering the lawns of every house, and frosting the tops of every roof and the pavement outside the houses.’
    • ‘Headed for the warmth of the Student Center and morning coffee, I notice that the display window maintained by the Fashion Design department is frosted over.’
    • ‘The windows were frosted over, so I had to scrape and scrape, all the while thinking the clock's ticking, the poison is seeping into his system!’
    • ‘Outside, snow fell: fat flakes adhering to the windows and frosting the glass in translucent white.’
    • ‘The trees seem to be worst hit - I've heard experts describe the trees as being ‘in distress’ - and are now in process of shutting down, shedding leaves well before they are frosted.’
    • ‘To frost glasses, dip glasses in cool water and place in freezer for five minutes.’
    frozen, frozen over, iced over, ice-bound, ice-covered, iced up, frosty, frosted, glassy, like a sheet of glass, slippery
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    1. 1.1[no object]Become covered with small ice crystals.
      ‘no one has managed to stop outdoor heat exchangers frosting up during winter’
      • ‘Add the rest of the ingredients in the order above and shake with loads of ice until the shaker frosts up.’
      • ‘Both are rumoured to be haunted, and as the common gets bleaker throughout the autumn and the lawns frost over nearer Christmas, it is easy to imagine the rumours are true.’
      • ‘And off we toddled, me with my evening gin frosting in my hand, and Dolly with an air of great relief that the election was over, for today at least.’
      • ‘At times it was so cold that they could see their equipment frosting up in front of them.’
    2. 1.2Damage or otherwise affect as a result of frost.
  • 2North American Decorate (a cake or biscuit) with icing.

    ‘the cake Mama had just frosted’
    • ‘Cookies that have been frosted with a butter cream type frosting cannot be stacked.’
    • ‘Teresa glanced up from the cake she was frosting.’
    • ‘Chill cake about 20 minutes, then frost with remaining room-temperature buttercream.’
    • ‘Chill the lemon curd until the cake has cooled and is ready to be frosted.’
    • ‘So get out there and frost the cake (you'll be glad you did).’
    • ‘"I think I saw the cook frosting a cake, " she confided.’
    • ‘The result is a cookie that looks like it has been frosted but the frosting is baked on and hard.’
    • ‘Instead of the traditional baby cakes, try baking a batch of baby cupcakes which guests can frost and decorate.’
    • ‘Though he spends more time managing than frosting cakes these days, he still bakes most mornings.’
    • ‘Heart shaped cookies can be frosted in pinks and reds and then other colors used for sprinkles on them.’
    • ‘Benji whistled to himself as he headed towards the kitchen of his parents' bakery, tying on his apron and already smelling the sweet scent of a cake ready to be frosted.’


  • degrees of frost

    • Degrees below freezing point.

      ‘he insisted on inspecting troops in 23 degrees of frost’
      • ‘The thermometer outside marked eighteen degrees of frost, and as the sun had not yet risen, the hunter hoped to surprise the animals at the approaches to the Wildstrubel, and Ulrich, being alone, remained in bed until ten o'clock.’
      • ‘A week last Monday, we were faced with a crisis at the collection centre when, at 6am, there was ten degrees of frost and no water could be persuaded to go down the pipes.’
      • ‘And you can bet that this winter when you read ‘there was ten degrees of frost in Kendal at the weekend,’ it will be Fahrenheit, which has been invoked for maximum effect.’
      • ‘In the depths of winter when there's snow on the ground, several degrees of frost and the rivers are in flood is the time to take a weekend off, not April, May and June.’
      • ‘Twelve degrees of frost had been recorded the previous night.’
      • ‘On the coldest night, 19 degrees of frost were recorded in York.’
      • ‘They suffered 50 degrees of frost in the frigid darkness of the long polar winter; in the summer, plagues of mosquitoes filled their eyes and throats.’
      • ‘On the 10th of September these ice-bound voyagers had eighteen degrees of frost, and the darkness had advanced on them so rapidly that it was dark about ten at night.’
      • ‘At Churchill an exposed thermometer registered 5.5 degrees F on Thursday morning, equal to 26.5 degrees of frost, and this was in a fairly sheltered position.’
      • ‘Given the plunging temperatures - they dropped to 18F on Christmas Day, or 14 degrees of frost - folk were seeking indoor entertainment.’


Old English frost, forst, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch vorst and German Frost, also to freeze.