It’s raining cats and dogs!

Article published on April 29, 2006
Article published on April 29, 2006

This article has not been vetted by an editor at Paris HQ

Imagine the scene. Way back in times gone by, someone, somewhere in the English-speaking world looked out of the window when it was raining and spontaneously declared, “Lo! It’s raining cats and dogs!” Sounds unlikely doesn’t it? And yet, there must be an explanation for how this bizarre expression entered the English language and why it has endured. But, what is especially interesting, given the current trend to mould Europe into a single entity, is how other European languages, not so far away from the UK at least geographically, describe the same meteorological event. In France, it apparently rains ropes; in Italy, basins; in Germany, buckets. It only takes a simple, everyday expression like this to demonstrate Europe’s incredible depth and its ability to confuse. Incidentally, the English expression has its origins in northern mythology where cats signified rain and dogs, great gusts of wind. Vive la difference!