Wednesday, 26 September 2012


As I write this short offering, poor old Britain is once again reeling under the effects of prolonged and heavy rain. Apparently, many areas have had a full month's rainfall in the space of just twenty-four hours.

When it rains this heavily, we often refer to it as 'raining cats and dogs'. 

The phrase is not in any sense literal in that it doesn't record an occasion when cats and dogs fell from the sky although some small creatures, such as frogs or fish do occasionally get lifted heaven-wards in freak weather. 

There are some who believe that the phrase derives from mythology. Dogs and wolves were attendants to Odin, the god of storms, and sailors often associated them with rain.

However, the much more likely source of 'raining cats and dogs' is the fact that, in the filthy streets of 17th/18th century England, heavy rain would occasionally carry along dead animals and the like. These animals didn't fall from the sky, but the sight of dead cats and dogs floating by in storms could well have led to the coining of this colourful phrase. 

Unless of course, I'm barking up the wrong tree.

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