"It's raining cats & dogs!"Feb 15, 2022
"It's raining cats and dogs" is the theme of the day in the UK. But where does this peculiar saying come from?
According to omniglot.com (a most enjoyable rainy-day website), the saying originates from a satirical poem by Jonathan Swift, 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."
There are lots of equivalent sayings in other languages. So in French you can say "il pleut des cordes" or "il pleut comme vache qui pisse" (guess which is more polite!) and in Danish the saying is "Det regner skomagerdrenge" which means "It's raining shoemakers' apprentices." "Es regnet Schusterbuben" in German seems to have a similar origin – does anyone know why young cobblers are associated with heavy rain? Is it the shoe laces?
More strange perhaps are Spain where it even rains husbands ("Estan lloviendo hasta maridos") and Portugal, where it rains pocket knives ("Está chovendo canivetes").
You'd need more than a sturdy umbrella to deal with that lot!
What peculiar sayings from any language would you love to discover the origin of?
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