City Life Vocabulary: Summer in the City

It's summer in Washington, D.C. which usually means almost unbearable heat and humidity. This city was built on a swamp after all. To make this weather more bearable, we will focus on lots of fun summer activities in our post today and practice our English vocabulary at the same time.

To cool off (something you do to cool down)

Some people enjoy cooling off in the pool, a lake, a river, or even the ocean. Going out with friends and getting some ice cream helps you cool off as well. Imagine how refreshing some ice cream would be now, simply melting in your mouth. There are lots of public (swimming) pools in Washington, D.C. you can use for free if you are a resident of the city. Lots of people use this opportunity to cool off or to get a suntan.

To get a suntan (when the sun makes your skin darker)

When you are at the pool, it is always nice to swim some laps to get some exercise or to simply get a massage sitting in front of a jet.

To swim laps (to swim back and forth in the pool to get some exercise)

A jet (a massage stream in the pool)

With kids you might spend time in the kid's pool while the deep end is for serious swimmers and the lifeguards make sure that only adults get into the deep end of the pool. If your kids are still learning how to swim, they will wear floaties or life vests. It is forbidden to dive into the pool in D.C. but some people dive in anyways. Some pools have diving boards and it is ok to use a diving board to jump into a pool.

The deep end (of the pool) (where the water is deep)

To get into the pool (to enter the pool)

A kid's pool

A serious swimmer

A lifeguard (the person who watches over the swimmers)

A floatie ( a fun device that helps you float in the water/stay above water)

To dive into the pool (jump into the pool)

To dive in (without the location you simply use "in"/with the location "into")

A diving board (you use that to dive into a pool)

To jump into a pool (to dive into a pool)

As for swim attire, there are different types of bathing suits: a bikini, speedo, swim shorts, a one piece.

It is important to wear the appropriate swim attire. You cannot go topless ever. Topless beaches, for example, are not common in the United States.

Swim attire (what you wear to go swimming)

A bikini

A speedo (very small swim attire for men, very popular in Europe, New Jersey, and Russia)

Swim shorts (a pair of swim shorts)

A one piece (a one piece = bathing suit)

To go topless (without a bikini top)

A topless beach

Another word for getting a suntan is sunbathing or soaking up the sun. Lots of people love to soak up the sun even though nowadays you need to use sunscreen, or suntan lotion to protect your skin. Still, you can get a healthy glow while avoiding that your skin burns. A sunburn is painful, and most people like to avoid getting sunburned.

To sunbathe

To soak up the sun

To use sunscreen

To get a healthy glow

A sunburn

To get sunburned (when your skin turns red)

Sunscreen (to put on sunscreen)

Suntan lotion (to put on suntan lotion)

It is also always nice to cool off with some iced drinks. Little kids love snow cones with sweet syrup poured on top. There are also ice pops (short for popsicles), gelato, sorbet and lots of other sweet summer treats, or if you do not have a sweet tooth you might enjoy unsweetened iced tea or coffee. Sweet iced tea is especially popular in the south, and everyone loves lemonade. You pour lemonade over ice and enjoy it ice cold to cool off during our extremely hot summer.

There are also some beaches a couple of hours outside of Washington, D.C. and lots of people love to get out of the city for a quick getaway over the weekend to cool off and enjoy beach life.

To get out of the city (to escape the city)

A quick getaway (a quick escape from the city)

Beach life

At the beach, you can go barefoot or wear flip flops if the sand is too hot, ideally while holding an ice cream cone with a couple of scoops of ice cream. Your kids might build a sandcastle while the whole family is lying in the sand under an umbrella to not be out in the sun too much. It is definitely advisable to spend some time out of the sun in the shade and then to take a dip to cool off.

To go barefoot (without shoes)

Flip flops

An ice cream cone (a waffle which holds ice cream)

Scoops of ice cream (for example: You might want to order two scoops of ice cream)

A sandcastle (a castle made of sand)

To lie in the sand

To be out in the sun

To be in the shade (to not be in the sun)

To take a dip (to go for a quick swim)

Photo source:

Marike Korn