Odd Phrases That Mean “Heavy Rain” In Other Languages

On October 28, 2014 by Tim Newman

Rain in loads of languages

The phrase raining cats and dogs is taught to kids from a young age despite it not really making much sense. That’s what we like to do to miniature humans: let them know how weird this world really is, right from the start. There’s no sense in lulling them into a false sense of security. They need to know that there’s no rhyme nor reason when it comes to us humans.

Some people believe that in medieval days cats and dogs would hide in the rafters of buildings and get washed down when the rains got heavy, hence the phrase. According to more scholarly types there’s no actual evidence for this theory of origin. The idea persists though, because people like to put reasons on things even if they make no sense.

More likely is that raining cats and dogs is just another wonderful splash of idiotic playfulness in human language.

Here are some other phrases that mean heavy rain from other languages. The one thing that all of humanity has in common is a jaunty turn of phrase… oh… and birth, death, stupidity and a love of alcohol…

Afrikaans: ou vrouens met knopkieries reen (“old women with clubs”)
Bengali: মুষলধারে বৃষ্টি পড়ছে musholdhare brishṭi poṛchhe (“in a stream of mallets”)
Bosnian: padaju ćuskije (“crowbars”)
Bosnian: lije ko iz kabla (“it’s pouring like from a bucket”)
Cantonese: “落狗屎” (“dog poo”)
Chinese: “倾盆大雨” (“its pouring out of basins”)
Catalan: Ploure a bots i barrals (“boats and barrels”)
Croatian: padaju sjekire (“axes dropping”)
Czech: padají trakaře (“wheelbarrows”)
Czech: leje jako z konve (“like from a watering can”)
Danish: det regner skomagerdrenge (“shoemakers’ apprentices”)
Dutch: het regent pijpenstelen (“pipe stems or stair rods”)
Dutch (Flemish): het regent oude wijven (“old women”)
Dutch (Flemish): het regent kattenjongen (“kittens”)
Faroese : Tað regnar av grind (“Pilot whales”)
Finnish: Sataa kuin Esterin perseestä (“It’s raining like from Esteri’s ass”)
Finnish: Sataa kuin saavista kaatamalla (“It’s raining like poured from a bucket”)
French: il pleut comme vache qui pisse (“it is raining like a peeing cow”)
French: il pleut à seaux (“it’s raining like from buckets”)
French: il pleut des hallebardes (“it is raining halberds”), clous (“nails”), or cordes (“ropes”)
German: Es regnet junge Hunde (“young dogs”) or Es schüttet wie aus Eimern (“like poured from buckets”)
Greek: βρέχει καρεκλοπόδαρα (“chair legs”)
Hindi: मुसलधार बारिश (musaldhār bārish) (“a stream of mallets”)
Hungarian: mintha dézsából öntenék (“like poured from a vat”)
Icelandic: Það rignir eins og hellt sé úr fötu (“like poured from a bucket”)
Kannada:ಮುಸಲಧಾರೆ, ಕುಂಭದ್ರೋಣ ಮಳೆ (“a stream of mallets”)
Italian: piove a catinelle (“poured from a basin”)
Latvian: līst kā no spaiņiem (“it’s raining like from buckets”)
Marathi: मुसळधार पाउस(“a stream of mallets”)
Nepali: मुसलधारे झरी (“a stream of mallets”)
Norwegian: det regner trollkjerringer (“she-trolls”)
Polish: leje jak z cebra (“like from a bucket”)
Portuguese: chovem or está chovendo/a chover canivetes (“penknives”)
Portuguese: chove a potes/baldes (“it is raining by the pot/bucket load”)
Portuguese: chove a cântaros/canecos (“it is raining by the jug load”)
Portuguese (Brazil): chovem cobras e lagartos (“snakes and lizards”)
Portuguese (Brazil): está caindo um pau-d’água (“a stick of water is falling”)
Romanian: plouă cu broaşte (“raining frogs”)
Romanian: plouă cu găleata (“from a bucket”)
Russian: льет как из ведра (“from a bucket”)
Spanish: están lloviendo chuzos de punta (“shortpikes/icicles point first” – not only is it raining a lot, but it’s so cold and windy that being hit by the drops hurts)
Spanish: está lloviendo a cántaros (“by the clay pot-full”)
Spanish: llueven sapos y culebras (“toads and snakes”)
Spanish (Argentina): caen soretes de punta (“pieces of dung head-first”)
Spanish (Venezuela): está cayendo un palo de agua (“a stick of water is falling”)
Spanish (Colombia): estan lloviendo maridos (“it’s raining husbands”)
Serbian: padaju sekire (“axes”)
Swedish: Det regnar smådjävlar (“It is raining little devils”)
Swedish: Det regnar småspik (“It is raining small nails”)
Swedish: regnet står som spön i backen (“the rain stands like poles out of the ground”)
Tamil: பேய் மழை pei malai (“Ghost rain”)
Turkish: bardaktan boşanırcasına (“like poured from a cup”)
Urdu: musladhār bārish (“a stream of mallets”)
Welsh: mae hi’n bwrw hen wragedd a ffyn (“old ladies and sticks”)

See? We’re all at it.






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