It's raining cats and dogs


Senior Member
Canadian English
I grew up hearing "it's coming down in buckets" in English. Now I wonder--did the expression make its' way into my family from English, or by translation from the Italian side of the family, or from the German side?

This is the one I probably hear the most often, after "Raining cats and dogs." The funny thing is, I'm not at all Italian, or German. So for me it wouldn't have been either. I do have some English in me though, so I could have been that.

  • Corsicum

    Senior Member
    Corsu in casa è u Francese à scola
    French :
    Il pleut des cordes(strings)
    Il pleut des hallebardes(halberd)

    Corsican :
    Piove à botte è à barilli (tonneaux et barils / barrel and barrel)
    Piove à sechje(seille,bowl)
    Piove à stagnone(seau,bucket)
    Piove à rivocca mantachi(à torrents, averse d'outres / ....)
    Piove à catinelle : cf TRINA for Italian.
    Piove empie i fundi (A remplir les caves / raining to fill storeroom )
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    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Canadian French:
    (according to my Anglophone French teacher)
    On peut boire debout: ~"You could drink standing up"
    Il pleut des clous: "It's raining nails."

    Don't take my word for it or anything... :D


    Norwegians also do the bucket thing:

    Det / Regnet bøtter ned ("It's / The Rain's bucketing down", which I think is also an English expression - at least my dictionary lists it...)

    in addition the metaphor: det regner trollkjerringer ( its raining "troll women")

    franc 91

    Senior Member
    English - GB
    In Provence, they say - il pleut les capelans et les belles-mères (priests and mothers in law because both are dressed in black)



    In addition to Turkish bardaktan boşanırcasına yağmur yağıyor – as mentioned in #11 and #12 – one could add sicim gibi yağmur, “pelting rain”, in which sicim means “a string”,


    I've also heard "sürahiden boşanırcasına yağmur yağıyor", which translates to it's raining as if poured down from a pitcher.

    Also, we use a saying which has an onomatopeia in it: Şakır şakır (yağmur) yağıyor. Where 'şakır' is the sound that water makes upon falling onto the ground.


    Senior Member
    English-US (New York City)
    Other ways to say It's raining cats and dogs in English:

    It's coming down in buckets!
    It's pouring!
    The sky is falling!

    ...and here's an improvement...

    It's raining cats, dogs, kittens, and puppies (that's my own coinage) when it's raining so hard and so loud that you can't drive even with the wipers running as fast as they can go.

    Miguel Antonio

    Senior Member
    Galego (Rías Baixas)
    Where I live we say "caen chuzos de punta", being "chuzo" an icicle and "punta" being "tip", so "tip icicle are falling"...
    En todas partes cuecen habas, pues, aunque tengamos más chuzos que vosotros :p
    In Spain (at least in the North-West) we also say:

    Caen chuzos de punta

    even though chuzos are really icicles...
    Hoxe fai un sol de carallo, pero chover, este inverno, xa choveu e ben :cool:


    Senior Member
    Chinese - Cantonese (HK)
    There are many ways to say that in Chinese, especially Classical Chinese, but I've never bothered remembering them (except the basin one, which is the most common).

    In Cantonese: 落狗屎 (falling dog poop)


    Senior Member
    Ukraine, Ukrainian
    дощ як з відра́ (of a bucket), як з лу́ба(of a bucket), як з цебра́(of a bucket), як з ко́новки(of a bucket), як відро́м ллє, як з-під ри́нви (gutter).


    Senior Member
    Chinese - Taiwan 中文 Taiwanese Hokkien 臺語
    The Chinese says 倾盆大雨(Big Rain that empties the Basin). Though I'm not quite sure whose basin it empties...
    傾 does not mean empty, and 傾盆 is actually not what the rain does, but what the rain is like.
    傾=tip, tilt
    So literally means "Big rain like a tilted pot pouring down water"


    Senior Member
    Another in Finnish: Sataa kuin aisaa, translates literally something like it is raining like shafts/poles.


    Senior Member
    In Japanese:

    土砂降りの雨(soil-pouring rain)
    横殴りの雨(side-blowing rain)
    滝のような雨(rain as intense as waterfall)
    as Verb, 雨が降りしきる(rain is pouring in abundant)、ざあざあと雨がふる(rain is pouring with detonating sounds)、大雨がふる(big rain is falling) and so on.


    Senior Member
    British English
    There's also the English expression It's raining stair rods. I haven't heard it for decades. It must be disappearing from the language now that people no longer seem to have stair rods. (Stair rods are the rods of metal which keep stair carpets in place.)


    Senior Member
    American English
    Some of these surprise me because they sound to me not like a reference to how much rain is falling, but like a description of what kind of rain it is. For example, "raining nails" sounds like it's saying the drops feel sharp on your skin because they're so small and fast-moving and possibly frozen. "Raining tips of icicles" sounds like not even a metaphor at all but a literal description of sleet. "The ground must have been thirsty" sounds like a description not of the rain but of what happens to it when it hits the ground: getting soaked in and absorbed instead of just running off into the streams.

    The French phrase translated as "Like a cow pissing" might be what started me thinking that way, because it's very similar to a Texan expression which is NOT about how much rain is falling. After a long time of hot dry weather, the ground can get hard like pottery, so, when it finally does rain again, the first rainfall might do no good because the ground can't absorb it. The water just bounces off of it and flows away, filling previously empty rivers quickly but only briefly, then it's gone and the land is still dry. This typically happens late in summer, when the temperature is still high, so the rain doesn't even seem to cool it down because it's a warm/hot rain. The expression for such a useless rain in Texas is "like a cow pissing on a flat rock", an almost literal simile for rain that's actually not far off in temperature from cow urine and bounces off of dirt the same way it bounces off of rocks.


    Senior Member
    Chinese: 大雨倾盆=da yu qing peng

    da = big; yu=rain; qing=pour out of; peng=basin

    Literal meaning :big rain poured out of a basin. ( The heavy rain as if it was poured out of a basin.)
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    Jay 9

    New Member
    French canadian
    I grew up in the Outaouais region saying:
    « Il pleut à boire debout! » Meaning it’s raining so hard that you can drink as you stand in the rain.
    Also: « Il pleut à siots » Siots is probably slang for seaux (buckets).