| #2 (permalink) Sat Feb 12, 2011 10:59 am Test incompl/inter-323, Question 3
|'Hell' is usually depicted as a hot place full of fire and brimstone.
It would never be cold.
So 'a cold day in hell' = never.
It will be a cold day in hell before he gets up on stage to sing.
A similar saying is
'He doesn't stand a snowball's chance in hell!'
He stands no chance, because a snowball, being made of ice, would instantly melt in a place as hot as hell is depicted to be.
You don't stand a snowball's chance in hell of getting him up on stage to sing.
'Hell will freeze over' / '... when hell freezes over' for the same reason.
He will get up on stage and sing when hell freezes over.
Hell will freeze over before he will get up on stage and sing.
To add to your comment: the expression about the Greek calends (or kalends) is not a common one in English. It derives from the Latin 'ad kalendas graecas' (to the Greek Kalends) and indicates an indefinite postponement, because the Greek calendar had no calends. Therefore 'the Greek calends' is a point/time that doesn't exist.
He will get up on stage and sing on the Greek calends.
(calend = the first day of each month of the Roman calendar)
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