raining cats and dogs - old fashioned? alternatives?

duden

Senior Member
Slovak
Hi, I was told by an American friend of mine that the idiom "it´s raining cats and dogs" is no more used by younger people and that it sounds rather archaic. She told me I should use "It´s pouring" instead. But the class I´m teaching English likes this expression very much, so decided to ask some more people about this.
Thank you in advance
 
  • beetle

    Senior Member
    English
    It is just an expression really, each to their own....But yes we do say 'It's pouring' or 'It's pi**ing down'...
     

    river

    Senior Member
    U.S. English
    Since I happen to have a dog and cats, I still say it's raining cats and dogs.

    You might find this interesting:

    Eric Sloan, author of Folklore of American Weather, attributes this phrase to a mispronunciation of "cats and ducks." The Pennsylvania Germans were found of saying "It's raining to bring in the cats and keep out the ducks," and when there was enough snow for tracking, they would say "it's snowing for cats and ducks." (Tom Skilling)
     

    duden

    Senior Member
    Slovak
    It is very interesting, because there was a similar misinterpretation of the "dogs" in our class - one of the students pronounced "dogs" exactly like "ducs" - if I had known this story before...
    Thank you
     

    ablazza

    Senior Member
    English, UK
    It's a common expression used all the time. Another, particularly annoying and clichéd saying is 'nice weather for the ducks'.

    Yours students might appreciate this one too:
    'Brass monkey weather' means it's freezing cold, and is the short version of ' it's cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey'.
     

    duden

    Senior Member
    Slovak
    Thank you very much for the last one, ablazza, I´m sure they´ll like it. Of course I´ll tell them that it is from you:)
    Thank you all!
    *duden
     

    malgosia

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Which is more informal
    1. It's raining cats and dogs.
    2. It's chucking it down.
    Rain cats and dogs sounds a bit old-fashioned to me but I might be wrong.
     

    WyomingSue

    Senior Member
    English--USA
    It rains more in England--no wonder Petereid has more terms for it! In the States pretty much all it does other than "rain" is "rain cats and dogs" and "pour." When I explain the Spanish term "lloviendo a cantaros" as the equivalent of raining cats and dogs to my teenage students they all understand perfectly well.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Which is more informal
    1. It's raining cats and dogs.
    2. It's chucking it down.
    Rain cats and dogs sounds a bit old-fashioned to me but I might be wrong.
    It's chucking it down is much more informal than the first, Malgo. (Chuck = throw, as in It's throwing (it) down.)
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    It's plonking, chucking, and bucketing (it) down are all foreign to AE. We continue to use
    "It's raining cats and dogs" as well as "It's pouring" and "It's really coming down hard".

    Those who say that the cats and dogs expression is old-fashioned or archaic may be correct, but then that means that my neighbors all speak archaic, old-fashioned English when we have a heavy rainstorm.
     

    preppie

    Senior Member
    American English (Mostly MidAtlantic)
    We use "coming down cats and dogs" as well as "coming down (in) buckets" but mostly we use "raining like a bandit (we have kids) or raining like a bitch (when the kids aren't around).
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    raining like a bandit
    Hunh?:confused:

    Raining cats and dogs
    doesn't strike me as particularly old-fashioned as such ... more like the kind of thing you'll read in a story ... just a bit fancy for everyday weather observation. I'm sure it'll be familiar to 99.8% of BE-speakers.
     

    djmc

    Senior Member
    English - United Kingdom
    In England raining cats and dogs is common, much less so but still known is raining stair-rods which is archaic, since most people no longer use stair-rods.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Ewie.. Not all idioms make total sense.. But we say it and people know that it's raining really hard outside.
    :thumbsup: The problem with that one, Preppie, is that I can't get it to make any sense. Now if it was raining bandits, I could imagine being sat in a 'gulch' (;)) somewhere when suddenly a whole bunch of bandits 'rain down upon me' in my hideaway.

    But one bandit ... ?:eek::confused::confused:
     

    mathman

    Senior Member
    English-American/New England
    :thumbsup: The problem with that one, Preppie, is that I can't get it to make any sense. Now if it was raining bandits, I could imagine being sat in a 'gulch' (;)) somewhere when suddenly a whole bunch of bandits 'rain down upon me' in my hideaway.

    But one bandit ... ?:eek::confused::confused:
    I also have heard "raining like a bandit." I've never heard it with the plural.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Ewie: wouldn't raining like a bandit be just a prettified version of :warning: raining like buggery?
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Ewie: wouldn't raining like a bandit be just a prettified version of :warning: raining like buggery?
    Erm ... dunno ... would it?

    Here are some more from Cassell's Dictionary of Slang, with very varying degrees of charm and acceptability:
    [20thC] rain bullock sterks [sterks = 'steers']
    [19thC] rain cats and dogs and pitchforks and shovels
    [19thC] rain chicken coops
    [19thC] rain darning needles
    [1900s-20s] rain trams and omnibuses :)
    rain curtain/stair-rods

    [US; 1940s] rain like a cow/bull pissing on a flat rock
    [NZ; 1930s>] rain duke Georges :confused:; rain like a drunken dog
    [US; 1930s-60s] rain pitchforks and nigger babies :eek:
     
    Last edited:

    freyawest18

    New Member
    Punjabi
    I always love to use idioms, and raining cats and dogs always remained my favorite. I want to know the real origin of this expression. If any one has idea, kindly share. Thanks
     

    Cenzontle

    Senior Member
    English, U.S.
    Most of the picturesque expressions listed above, I have never heard before!
    What I hear most often, nowadays, in real life, is "It's really coming down!"
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Which is more informal
    1. It's raining cats and dogs.
    2. It's chucking it down.
    Rain cats and dogs sounds a bit old-fashioned to me but I might be wrong.
    My experience is that "raining cats and dogs" is sort of worn out and therefore may be discarded except for cute/quaint/old-fashioned-ness. However, the Premier league (football/soccer) commentator just, well, commented that "It's really chucking it down" in a very normal, if informal way - formally: it was raining very hard (it would have qualified form cats and dogs:))
     
    Last edited:

    RM1(SS)

    Senior Member
    English - US (Midwest)
    One day when I was in the Philippines it was raining so hard I described it as "raining cats, dogs, and baby elephants."
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top