Saturday, March 04, 2006

It's Raining . . . How's That Again??

One more thing about rain: You've heard "It's raining cats and dogs," of course. There are several proposed explanations for this phrase, but the most likely, I think, is simply that it alludes to an "improbable cacophony." That's because there's a veritable torrent of similarly noisy and improbable phrases in other languages. Czechs say, "It's raining wheelbarrows." In Slovakia when it rains hard, "tractors are falling." In Greek, "it's raining chair legs." In Gaelic, "it's throwing cobbler's knives," and in Danish, "it's raining shoemakers' apprentices." (Go figure.)

The wonderful site Ominglot has dozens of such phrases, including the Haitian Creole expression for such rain, which translates as: "Dogs are drinking in their noses."

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