kinds of rain

Pidginboy

Senior Member
India-Local dialect
I have trouble describing rain of different intensities.

1.Very thin, sparse drops for less than five minutes which will not force us to take cover.
2. Small drops fall for a few seconds while there is sun too.
3. The rain that lasts for a couple of minutes but soaks everybody out in the open.

Please help.
 
  • Gwan

    Senior Member
    New Zealand, English
    I might say 'it's spitting'. But you would not call the raindrops themselves 'spit'. There is no word I can think of for the drops of rain themselves. I am but human! :)
     

    Benton

    Member
    English UK
    The gentle rain?

    Shakespeare. The Merchant of Venice, Act IV.
    "It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven"

    Portia speaking of "Mercy"
     

    manon33

    Senior Member
    English - England (Yorkshire)
    We specialise in rain in my part of the world. In England, light rain is called just that. Or drizzle. Or spitting. Or 'It's trying to rain' (the implication being that it isn't trying very hard).

    In Yorkshire, you sometimes hear 'It's picking', but that's dialect. A five minute burst of light rain is called a light shower. More intense = heavy rain/shower.

    I've not heard 'gentle rain', except in the literary context already mentioned.
     

    Hitchhiker

    Senior Member
    English-US
    I've never heard spitting or sun shower in the US. We might say, in order of strength, mist, sprinkle, drizzle, light shower, shower, heavy shower, downpour and thunder storm.
     

    Gwan

    Senior Member
    New Zealand, English
    And I have never heard 'sprinkling'. :) What would you call it then if it's raining and the sun's shining? Here, it's probably sufficiently uncommon that people would remark upon it happening, but sufficiently common that there's a name for it!
     

    manon33

    Senior Member
    English - England (Yorkshire)
    In England, this meteorological phenomenon generally exictes the response : 'Ooh, look, there's a rainbow', but as far as I am aware , there isn't a special name for that kind of rain.
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    The gentle rain?
    Shakespeare. The Merchant of Venice, Act IV.
    "It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven"
    Portia speaking of "Mercy"
    I think the context of this passage makes it clear that Portia is thinking of abundant rain, and emphatically not just a few drops. I suspect that 'gentle' here means something like 'of noble (= gentle) birth and therefore generous' (meaning 3a of 'gentle' in the OED).

    Many of Shakespeare's plays were first performed in an open-air theatre in London, and so to an audience that new all about heavy showers! http://images.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl=http://www.globe-shop.com/images/item25511.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.globe-shop.com/item.asp%3Fitemid%3D551&usg=__1KPX299ZvvSuCr8vg08jpou0o1s=&h=1200&w=900&sz=234&hl=en&start=33&tbnid=1VmpGnsF_sX4gM:&tbnh=150&tbnw=113&prev=/images%3Fq%3Drain%2Bshakespeare%2Bglobe%26gbv%3D2%26ndsp%3D18%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26start%3D18

    Of course, in everyday modern English, light rain can be called 'gentle rain'.
     
    Last edited:

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    In England, this meteorological phenomenon generally exictes the response : 'Ooh, look, there's a rainbow', but as far as I am aware , there isn't a special name for that kind of rain.
    I call the rain-from-a-sunny-sky phenomenon ...
    ... a sun-shower;)
     
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