rain cats and dogs

(redirected from rain buckets)
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Related to rain buckets: rain barrel

rain cats and dogs

Fig. to rain very hard. It's raining cats and dogs. Look at it pour! I'm not going out in that storm. It's raining cats and dogs.
See also: and, cat, dog, rain

rain cats and dogs

Also, rain buckets. Rain very heavily, as in It was raining cats and dogs so I couldn't walk to the store, or It's been raining buckets all day. The precise allusion in the first term, which dates from the mid-1600s, has been lost, but it probably refers to gutters overflowing with debris that included sewage, garbage, and dead animals. Richard Brome used a version of this idiom in his play The City Wit (c. 1652), where a character pretending a knowledge of Latin translates wholly by ear, " Regna bitque/and it shall rain, Dogmata Polla Sophon/dogs and polecats and so forth." The variant presumably alludes to rain heavy enough to fill pails.
See also: and, cat, dog, rain

rain cats and dogs

rain very hard.
Despite much speculation, there is no consensus as to the origin of rain cats and dogs . Suggestions range from the supernatural (cats being associated with witches who were credited with raising storms, dogs being attendants upon Odin, the Scandinavian storm god) to the down-to-earth (animals in medieval times drowning in flooded streets in times of heavy rain and their bodies being assumed by the credulous to have fallen from the skies). Other versions of the saying are rain pitchforks and, in Britain, rain stair rods , which date from the early 19th century and mid 20th century respectively, and reflect the shaft-like appearance of heavy rain. Rain cats and dogs is first recorded in Jonathan Swift's Polite Conversation ( 1738 ).
See also: and, cat, dog, rain

rain cats and ˈdogs

(also rain ˈbuckets) (informal) (usually used in progressive tenses) rain very heavily: We can’t possibly play golf today. It’s raining cats and dogs out there.It’s been raining buckets all morning.The expression ‘raining cats and dogs’ may come from Norse mythology. Cats were supposed to have an influence over the weather, while dogs were the signal of storms.
See also: and, cat, dog, rain

rain cats and dogs

Informal
To rain very heavily.
See also: and, cat, dog, rain