a squall of rain pitted the water

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Senior Member
The sea out from the south harbour was still dramatic, huge rolling waves and white breakers against the grey rocks. The sun came from behind a cloud, lit up a rainbow of spray, then everything was dark again. He walked past the small graveyard, which was so close to the sea that spindrift blew across it, tucked himself behind one of the boulders to catch his breath and keep his telescope out of the wind and the salt. A squall of rain pitted the water a little way out to sea, and he raised his binoculars to look at the storm, then focused again so he was looking closer to the shore.
Source: Blue Lightning by Ann Cleeves

What does pit mean?

squall noun 1. a sudden violent gust of wind or localized storm, especially one bringing rain, snow, or sleet • low clouds and squalls of driving rain.
to pit something is to make marks or holes on the surface of something: The surface of the moon is pitted with craters.

Thank you.
  • Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    While "a squall of rain pitted the water" would be fine if the surface of water was flat, so the ripples from rain hitting the water could be seen, it seems an odd thing to say with the sea as violent as the one described. The rain would surely not make any visible difference to the water's surface, even if viewed with a telescope or binoculars (which it appears he was not doing, just at the time the pitting is described), and in these conditions I would expect the squall of rain to be seen in the sky rather than on the surface of the water.
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