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I am looking for a word to describe a person who really suffers when it's cold. Let's say, cold is not their cup of tea. And (maybe) with a nuance that they are over-sensitive.

John is so [the word I'm looking for]; It's just 5C and he's wrapped up in two sweaters and a winter coat!

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  • I live in Los Angeles, but spend a good deal of time among the Russian expat community here - and I have noticed that Russians tend to find LA winters very cold; certainly colder than natives do. I'll be wearing jeans and a T-shirt, and my girlfriend - who used to live in a much colder place - will be shivering under three layers of fleece. I jokingly call her безкровница - "bloodless one". – MT_Head Jan 24 '13 at 6:46
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    Do not use three exclamation marks in a row. Ever. It achieves nothing except making the author look like they dropped out of elementary school. – RegDwigнt Jan 24 '13 at 9:54
  • There might be a conflict between your ideas that they 'really suffer' and that they are over sensitive, which suggests that the suffering isn't very real? – Spagirl Jan 5 '17 at 10:38
  • "Snowbird" might be used, somewhat derisively, around here. – Hot Licks Oct 16 '17 at 11:37
  • Related: english.stackexchange.com/q/415812/112436 – aparente001 May 15 '19 at 5:36

11 Answers 11

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Nesh. But you might find that few people understand this.

Nesh is an English dialect adjective meaning unusually susceptible to cold weather and there is no synonym for this use. Usage has been recorded in Cheshire, Staffordshire, the East Midlands, Lancashire, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Shropshire.

It includes over-sensitivity — my hardy friend calls me this when I moan about the cold.

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    Good find, but yeah - I doubt you'd be understood. – Lynn Jan 24 '13 at 18:08
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You're probably looking for cold sensitive or thin blooded. There is no common single adjective that I know of for that idea, just the technical term thermosensitive. Here in Taiwan, I always use "Taiwanese", however, because many southern Taiwanese are just like "John". When the temp drops to below 20C, they wear arctic-quality parkas & complain about the cold: "It's freezing!"

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My grandmother would have referred to such a person as a chilly mortal. I can only find a passing reference to this online where the term is defined as meaning nesh.

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I've heard the terms 'reptile' or 'reptilian' being used in this way. The intent is sometimes more about someone who stays inside and doesn't do anything when it is cold, rather than someone who is up and about but rugged up and/or complaining about it. None the less I have heard it used (and used it myself) in the general sense of someone who is sensitive to the cold.

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I'm a bit inclined this way so use the phrase 'cold-blooded' to describe my dislike of intense cold, which is the same as describing reptiles that need to lie in the sun to warm up.

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Note that you can change "so" which conveys a characteristic, to "such a " which allows you to use generalisations (usually nouns or qualified nouns).

You could make up a word that was especially understandable.
eg "John is such a cold-o-phobe" would convey your meaning well.

"Drama queen" (maybe only in some countries)

"so cold sensitive..." - polite and explains clearly

"so fussy ..." impolite

"such a comfort lover ..."

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  • Most of your answers add a further implication that the speaker thinks John is being ridiculous, which somewhat clashes with the OP's description of "a person who really suffers when it's cold" – Flater Oct 2 '17 at 10:36
  • @Flater You are correct BUT the 2nd part of the question clashes with the first part and my adumbrations address this second part ie " ... And (maybe) with a nuance that they are over-sensitive." [I assume that you will consequently upvote my answer :-) ]. – Russell McMahon Oct 4 '17 at 2:51
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Cauldrife is an appropriate but uncommon word.

susceptible to cold; chilly

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    This would be improved by including a dictionary reference for the word. – KillingTime Feb 20 '20 at 19:03
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    Caulrife is Scottish English and rare (probably unknown) outside of Scotland The OED has one example: "Of persons: Susceptible to cold. 1773 R. Fergusson Poems 100 Auld Reikie! Thou'rt a canty hole, A bield for mony caldrife soul. (I would welcome a translation...) – Greybeard Feb 21 '20 at 0:19
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Chionophobe, perhaps? It technically means "a plant or animal unable to live under heavy snow cover or snowfall" but I think it comes close to what you're looking for.

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  • Welcome to EL&U! It is convention to provide references to support your answer. Please consider visiting the help page for effective ways to answer questions. – Minnow Nov 9 '15 at 18:43
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Similar to some of the above suggestions, I have used the phrase, "because you are a lizard" when responding to my wife's commenting on how cold it is while I am in tee shirt and shorts. As I am still breathing, she is clearly not a man-eating lizard. Everyone else I have used the same expression on, seems to grasp the context pretty easily, although some women are a bit sensitive, if they mistakenly think I may be referring to their skin texture as like that of a lizard.

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    Question for you, Steve. If you were the one commenting on it being cold, while your partner is happy in T shirt and shorts, would you be comfortable commenting that you are a lizard? I'm curious. Thanks. – aparente001 Oct 26 '17 at 18:54
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There is a Spanish word - friolento - which may serve your purpose. I would use it to describe myself. I loathe cold weather. Anything below 20C (about 70F) and I'm rugged up.

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    Hello, Emily. If you can find an English dictionary accepting this as part of the lexicon, please add a reference. If you haven't done so by say Saturday, I'll have to flag as 'not a valid answer'. Foreign words are not acceptable on ELU until they are accepted into the lexicon. – Edwin Ashworth Nov 23 '17 at 22:27
  • And there's a similar one in French: frileuse (for a woman, which often it is). – aparente001 May 15 '19 at 5:34
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You can describe the person who feels the cold more easily as a

hothouse lily

This is related to a plant that can't survive outside of a greenhouse.

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