Not a common saying in Classical Latin literature I imagine, but maybe could be found in letters? Or, if there are any equivalent phrases or expressions found in Neo-Latin particularly, eg Erasmus, that might also be a good guide.

Obviously this is a more common expression in modern times, due to telephony, the Internet, etc, making this a common conversational remark, which would have been an unusual question to ask orally before the mid 1800s. This may explain why it seems to be hard to pin down for Latin now. However, if there are examples of how weather was talked about in Classical times, this might also help understand how to ask about the weather.

  • 1
    Thank you! I did check the question guidelines. I could not find a good answer to this (to ensure that I had complied with the "have I researched" criterion). There is a parallel discussion going on at Dischord (mostly students) and they are also struggling to find a good answer to this. It seems a specific enough (closed) question, so fits that criterion. Let me know what I am missing.
    – Iacobus
    Commented Jun 12, 2021 at 15:14
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    @IácóbusdeBremesgrave Just so that we can give you the best answer for what you're looking for, are you thinking primarily ancient, Classical Latin, or does Medieval Latin suffice? What about recent coinages based on calques by other students? Do you want a simple translation of only that phrase, or would you prefer to know how the Romans discussed the weather. It doesn't have to touch upon all of that, but the more specificity you give, the better we can help!
    – cmw
    Commented Jun 12, 2021 at 15:29

2 Answers 2


You could say:

Qualis tempestas est?

This usage appears in Historia Ecclesiae Gandershemensis:

ut audirent [...] qualis tempestas esset

…that they might hear how the weather was.

However, literally, qualis means what kind of.

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    That seems a really useful example, thank you.
    – Iacobus
    Commented Jun 12, 2021 at 17:32
  • @IácóbusdeBremesgrave - You're welcome! Commented Jun 12, 2021 at 17:33
  • IMO, "what kind of..." is actually a more appropriate question to ask, as opposed to "how is..." (when speaking of the weather). Commented Jun 13, 2021 at 14:05
  • Well, what kind of is what many other languages use here, why asking for an adverb when the answer will be an adjective? The weather is nice, not nicely. Commented Jun 14, 2021 at 6:35

One option worth considering is:

Quale est caelum?
Literally: "What is the sky/weather/air like?"

Aulus Cornelius Celsus writes in De Medicina 3.4:

Refert enim qualis morbus sit, quale corpus, quale caelum, quae aetas, quod tempus anni.
For it all depends upon the kind of disease, the patient's body, the climate, his age, and the time of year.
(Perseus has the translation by W. G. Spencer and the original text.)

While this specific translation went with "climate", the word caelum is often used for weather and similar things (see L&S caelum, II.B). The dictionary entry lists several usages in such a meaning, but not in questions. The question in Celsus is indirect but it is the closest hint in classical texts I could find.

I don't think the question itself is attested, but my suggestion is based on well attested classical usage.

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