Idiom fun! It’s raining cats and dogs

Perhaps one of the most enjoyable parts of learning another language and really getting into the culture of another country is to look at their idioms. This post starts a series on idioms, their meaning and their translation. It’s sure to be a romp.

First of all, what is an idiom?

An idiom is a set of words that have a meaning not deducible from the individual words themselves. If you don’t know the expression, you either look at the opposite person with utter confusion or you laugh out loud. After all, could you imagine cats and dogs falling from the sky?

It’s raining cats and dogs

‘It’s raining cats and dogs’ is often used as an example of idiom when teaching young children parts of speech. What does it actually mean?

Well, when it’s raining cats and dogs, it’s raining very heavily.

Let’s look at what others say:

French: Il pleut des cordes – It’s raining ropes

German: Es schüttet aus Eimern – It’s raining out of buckets

Italian: Piove che Dio la manda – It’s raining as if God has sent it

Dutch: Het regent pijpestelen – It’s raining pipe stems

Spanish: Estan lloviendo hasta maridos – It’s even raining husbands!

But perhaps our all time favourite is Welsh: Mae hi’n bwrw hen wragedd a ffyn   – It’s raining old ladies and sticks

There you have it! Get in touch via Twitter if you have a particular idiom you’d love to know.


Robert Lo Bue

Rob is CEO of Applingua. With over a decade's experience, he is at the forefront of tech localization.