Calm Before The Storm

Meaning:

The calm before the storm is a peaceful period of time that comes before a busier and/or more difficult one.

Example: Logan agreed to babysit his two nephews. As of now, his house is nice and quiet, but he knows that once his nephews arrive, this will all change. After all, they are full of energy and loud. So while Logan is enjoying the peace for now, he knows it’s the calm before the storm.

Synonyms / Related Phrases:
1. The lull before the storm
The calm before the storm, rain cloud and lightning.

The Origin Of ‘Calm Before The Storm’

The phrase ‘calm before the storm’ likely originates from a weather phenomenon, that is, sometimes there is a serene period that comes shortly before a storm hits. You may have experienced this before yourself. Being outside, there are dark clouds in the sky, but the notable thing is how tranquil everything feels. There’s no wind blowing; the air is still and quiet. It looks as though even the birds have packed up and left; everything looks and sounds peaceful.

However, shortly after, the wind suddenly picks up and buckets of rain start to fall. Yes, that peaceful time is now over and a hefty storm has arrived. This sort of occurrence in the weather is applied figuratively to other situations that are similar. That is, situations with a calm period that lead into a louder, more chaotic one (like in the example above with Logan).

Is there always a calm before the storm? No, sometimes there is, sometimes there isn’t. I don’t know much about meteorology, so I can’t explain what causes this weather phenomenon. But what I can tell you is how old this expression is:

It was in use hundreds of years ago, so it’s quite old. For example, this phrase makes an appearance in a play as early as the 17th century. That play is called The Dumb Knight, written by Lewis Machin and Gervase Markham, around 1601:

“Coloquintida.
Fast lock’d in her bed, with a close ward to devour thee my brave paraquito; but hush, no words, there is a calm before the tempest.”

In the quote, the word choice for the phrase is a little different (the word “tempest” is used instead of “storm”) but it’s pretty much the same thing. However, if you’re not happy with that, well then the earliest I could the saying with the word “storm” in it is from a book called The Remarks of Jeremiah Jingle, by Jeremiah Jingle, printed in 1807:

“She in all probability attributing my emotions to regret of her mighty displeasure, with the most charitable intention in the world assumed a calm before the storm was half exhausted, and to quiet my anxiety, good naturedly began to hum a love-air.”

Anyways, when all is said and done, it looks like this saying is at least 410 years old.


Example Sentences For ‘Calm Before The Storm’

  • I’ve come down with an illness. It’s not too bad right now, but I fear this is the calm before the storm and come tomorrow, it will get much worse.
  • I’m a chef at a restaurant and we don’t normally get many customers during breakfast and lunch. However, those earlier times are the lull before the storm because once dinner time rolls around, this place fills up and things get very busy.

Tip: If you want to find more common phrases and sayings, use the menu at the top. Simply choose a letter.


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