As well as lists, I love talking about the weather. I’m British, so obviously…When it’s raining, there are so many phrases from around the world to use.
Some of these are a lot of fun, why not try replacing your usual description with some of these phrases about rain.
The origin of ‘raining cats and dogs’
Some think the phrase ‘raining cats and dogs’ originated in the 1500s, when roofs were commonly thatched. A downpour could send stray pets pummeling through rooftops. A less whimsical origin story notes that drainage systems in the 17th century were pretty substandard compared to today’s models; when the rain came in buckets, gutters would release whatever animal corpses were stuck in there since the last rain, including birds and rats.
Or did it come from Jonathan Swift’s satirical poem, A Description of a City Shower, first published in Tatler magazine in 1710. The poem includes the lines “Drown’d Puppies, stinking Sprats, all drench’d in Mud / Dead Cats and Turnip-Tops come tumbling down the Flood.”
Like much of the English language, and those other languages around the world, there’s plenty of phrases which remind us of all the different ways of describing wet weather.
Phrases to explain rainy weather
Pissing it down
Tipping it down
Raining cats and dogs (English)
Heaven’s have opened
Good weather for ducks
It’s raining old ladies and sticks (Welsh)
And from around the world (the literal english version)
It’s raining like a pissing cow (french)
It’s raining ropes (french)
It’s raining barrels and casks (Catalan)
Female trolls (Norwegian)
Raining wheelbarrows (Czech)
It’s raining jugs (Colombia)
It’s raining frogs (Poland)
It’s raining chair legs (Greek)
Raining old women with clubs (South Africa)
It’s a frog strangler (Australia)
It rains in streams (Germany)
It’s raining puppies (Germany)
Raining fire and brimstone (Iceland)
It’s raining tractors (slovakian)
Pouring from buckets (Russian)
It’s raining pocket knives (Brazil)
It’s dropping a foot of water (Brazil)
It’s raining old women (Netherlands)
Raining like rods (Swedish)
And there’s over 100 more words for rain in the UK (and not raining men – only in the song!)
How do you explain the rainy weather in your neck of the woods?