Dead of Winter

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Billy-o

Native
Apr 19, 2018
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Canada
I was wondering; is the dead of winter a particular time, or a particular thing, or a quality of weather perhaps? Or, is it just something people have got used to saying?
 

TeeDee

Full Member
Nov 6, 2008
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Exeter
Winter solstice - Wikipedia

More Dark Hours than Light Daylight hours.


Other names are the "extreme of winter" (Dongzhi), or the "shortest day". Since the 18th century, the term "midwinter" has sometimes been used synonymously with the winter solstice, although it carries other meanings as well. Traditionally, in many temperate regions, the winter solstice is seen as the middle of winter, but today in some countries and calendars, it is seen as the beginning of winte

???
 

Billy-o

Native
Apr 19, 2018
1,668
740
Canada
Yes .. that sounds about right. I was hoping that perhaps the word 'dead' here had mutated over time from some original saxon meaning ... or something like that, anyway
 

C_Claycomb

Mod
Mod
Oct 6, 2003
6,452
1,412
Bedfordshire
Dead of winter and dead centre appear to have different origins, and their relation to being in the middle seems to be slightly coincidental.

the dead of winter the coldest part of winter.
The sense of dead here and in the previous idiom developed in the 16th century from dead time of —, meaning the period most characterized by lack of signs of life or activity.

The earliest recorded use of dead of night, for "darkest time of night," was in Edward Hall's Chronicle of 1548: "In the dead of the night ... he broke up his camp and fled." Dead of winter, for the coldest part of winter, dates from the early 1600s.

As I understand it, the coldest part of winter is after the middle of winter.



Meanwhile, Dead Centre relates to engineering, somewhere in the 1800s, and sources suggest its related to either top and bottom of a crank rotation where it cannot be turned by the con-rod, or the very centre of something being turned on a lathe, a point with minimal movement.
 
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MikeeMiracle

Full Member
Aug 2, 2019
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Northampton
I think the "middle of" is what most consider it to be but it's a very lose definition. For example, when do the seasons start? Some define winter as starting on the 1st December, others at the winter solstace. Or is the winter solstance meant to be in the "middle" of winter? It all depends on your view point.
 

TeeDee

Full Member
Nov 6, 2008
7,062
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Exeter
Dead of winter and dead centre appear to have different origins, and their relation to being in the middle seems to be slightly coincidental.

the dead of winter the coldest part of winter.
The sense of dead here and in the previous idiom developed in the 16th century from dead time of —, meaning the period most characterized by lack of signs of life or activity.

The earliest recorded use of dead of night, for "darkest time of night," was in Edward Hall's Chronicle of 1548: "In the dead of the night ... he broke up his camp and fled." Dead of winter, for the coldest part of winter, dates from the early 1600s.

As I understand it, the coldest part of winter is after the middle of winter.



Meanwhile, Dead Centre relates to engineering, somewhere in the 1800s, and sources suggest its related to either top and bottom of a crank rotation where it cannot be turned by the con-rod, or the very centre of something being turned on a lathe, a point with minimal movement.

Not being pedantic but merely wanting to clarify is it Dead CENTRE or Dead CENTER?
 

C_Claycomb

Mod
Mod
Oct 6, 2003
6,452
1,412
Bedfordshire
Not being pedantic but merely wanting to clarify is it Dead CENTRE or Dead CENTER?
Strange question.
Since this is a UK forum, I use the UK spelling, if for no other reasons than using the American spelling generates lots of annoying red-underlining from the spell-checker. I also expect the mostly British audience to recognise and appreciate the UK spelling. When I am on US forums, well, actually its a bit of a coin toss which way I spell, if I am trying to communicate really clearly, and if they have spell check, I use US spelling.

To be extra clear,
Dead centre = mortuary
Dead center = morgue
 

Silverclaws2

Forager
Dec 30, 2019
224
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Devon
Middle of winter and in engineering dead centre being the exact middle, where perhaps dead in binary terms refers to neither one thing nor the other to be an undefinable space
 

bobnewboy

Native
Jul 2, 2014
1,030
482
North West Somerset
I like to think of the ‘dead of winter’ in an audiological sense. If you’re out and about in a snowy woodland and stop moving around, the soundscape is very quiet. The snow itself adds a high level of sound deadening, a bit like an anechoic chamber. The lack of apparent life means even less sound being generated, and so things are very quiet indeed. I find that very relaxing, but I could see that some people might find it odd or troublesome.
 

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