Why did everyone begin talking about ‘petrichor’ when it started to rain?
Twitter was abuzz with the word.
Heavy rain often accompanies hot temperatures, and after a long stretch of heat the UK found itself in the grip of the wet stuff at last.
Yes, the long hot summer is being disrupted with thunderstorms, which have prompted the Met Office to issue a weather warning.
And while the sight of rain might be something of a disappointment for some, one of the benefits of the downpour is the return of petrichor.
I spent my first 40 years not having a name for that magical post-rain scent, but I wish I still didn't, because "petrichor" really doesn't do it for me. Anyone got a better one?— Emma Darwin (@emma_darwin) July 27, 2018
The word was the talk of social media when the clouds burst, but what does it mean? Here’s wordsmith and star of Countdown’s Dictionary Corner Susie Dent to tell us more.
Word of the evening: petrichor - the unique smell of rain falling on scorched earth, after a long spell of hot weather.— Susie Dent (@susie_dent) July 20, 2018
A word that probably doesn’t come up all that often in conversation, the sensation is nonetheless something loads of people are familiar with.
The smell of rain on grass that hasn't had it for ages is overpowering my office, and it's incredible— Jonny Singer (@Jonny_Singer) July 27, 2018
There is RAIN. And PETRICHOR.— Liz Marley (@greensideknits) July 27, 2018
I'll be outside dancing if anyone wants me.
Finally, after almost two months, the smell of petrichor fills the air— Peter Gibbs (@PeterGWeather) July 27, 2018
And while you won’t actually be able to smell the marvellous scent simply by reading this, here’s a video to help you imagine it that bit more accurately.
FINALLY! ⛈️🌧️⛈️🌧️⛈️ Ah, the wonderful smell of petrichor 😅 pic.twitter.com/Zp8KgB3nlx— Mart. (@LaughingGravy71) July 27, 2018
Every cloud has a silver lining.