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Monday, 26 June 2017

Raining cats and dogs

Several explanations have been given for the description of a heavy downpour as "raining cats and dogs." Here are some of them:

In the 1500's English houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood underneath. Pets would sit on the roof in cold weather to get warm. But if it rained, the roof became slippery and sometimes the animals would slide off the roof. That's how the saying, "It's raining cats and dogs" came to be.

The phrase "raining cats and dogs" originated in 17th century England. After a cloudburst and flash-flooding, drowned cats and dogs used to float down London streets. The situation gave the appearance to the simple minded that it had literally rained "cats and dogs" and led to the current expression.

The phrase goes back to German migrants to America who had settled in south-eastern Pennsylvania. Their English was at times difficult to decipher. Heavy showers reminded them of a popular saying "back home." It spoke of raining so much that it kept in the cats and brought out the ducks. In their strong German accent the ducks sounded very much like dogs. Those listening to them, puzzled by what they were talking about, misunderstood them to say that it was raining cats and dogs.

Just like Americans and British say "It's raining cats and dogs," South Africans and Namibians say, "It's raining old women with clubs."

Source Europress Family Encyclopedia 1999

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