Rain must hold a special place deep in the human psyche. Expressions about rain have such interesting imagery. I can’t think of many words that evoke such vivid images.
For instance, in English, if it’s pouring out, you can say, It’s raining cats and dogs. If there’s thunder, some people say God is bowling. At least that’s said to little kids.
You can also say, It’s raining buckets. That’s interesting because in French, there’s the same expression, Il pleut à seaux.*
The French also have the saying, Il pleut comme vache qui pisse. In English, that’s… It’s raining like a cow that’s pissing.
More politely, the French would say, Il tombe des cordes. That expression is literally, It’s falling ropes, or we’d say, Ropes are falling.
There are also expressions for more violent rain. In Spanish there’s, Caen chuzos de punto. Which means, Spears are falling point first. Similarly, in French there’s, Il tombe des hallebardes. That means, Halberds are falling. A halberd is a weapon that was used during the 14th and 15th centuries. It has a spiky axe on the end of a pole. You can see halberds in the image below. They sort of look like falling rain.
Finally, in Occitan (a language spoken in parts of southern France, Spain and Italy) they say, Tomba de rabanelas. That means, Wild radishes are falling. They also say, Tomba de pèiras de molin – Mill stones are falling.
Feel free to comment below about expressions concerning rain that are said in cultures you’re familiar with.
Many thanks to Monique of Mama Lisa’s World en français for telling me about some of the expressions about rain in French, Spanish and Occitan.
Come visit the blog category about rain for some songs and rhymes about rain.
*UPDATE ABOUT “RAINING BUCKETS”:
Monique later wrote me…
Spaniards also say, “Llueve a cántaros” to say “it’s raining buckets”. It literally means the same thing. Portuguese have the same expression about buckets, “Está a chover a cântaros” = it’s raining buckets. Italians have “piove a catinelle”, which means “it’s raining basins/bowls”.
This article was posted on Thursday, July 13th, 2006 at 12:46 pm and is filed under Countries & Cultures, English, Expressions about Rain, France, French, Languages, Occitan, Occitan, Rain, Spain, Spanish, United Kingdom, USA, Weather, Words & Phrases. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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