Imagine you were a stone age agriculturalist on an isolated tropical island 1000 years ago with no appreciably high mountains.
You want to describe something (the air) in terms of how cold it was, now we would use words like 'icy' or 'frosty' but my protagonist has no idea what ice or frost is. It's outside his experience and vocab. How might he describe it to his peers?
Scenario there has been a huge invisible battle of ghosts, but with chaos happening in terms of buildings being shattered around their occupants etc,. cold descends in a smallish area for the duration of the ghosts battle (half an hour at most) before the human slaughter starts.
There is a word for 'cold', and there is a word for 'very', but he's telling a story, he needs to describe it dramatically by comparing it to things. Because this is how stories are told and because this coldness is far beyond anything his peers will have experienced and he needs to get that point across. We're talking around 5 degrees below zero but only for about half an hour. So no 'water turned to stone' descriptions. So far I have words turning to smoke as they were speaking them and a comparison disparaging the relative warmth of a mountain spring.
Not too sure if this is on topic here.