Sunday, September 12, 2010

Raining Cats and Dogs

Recently, Sammy or Rocco (Darby's brother and father, in case you didn't know) commented on one of their blogs (see my blog list) that it was "raining cats and dogs" where they live in Mountain Home, Arkansas.  (I think it might have been from remnants of Tropical Storm Hermine, but I could be wrong about that.) 

I've always wondered what "raining cats and dogs" meant, so I looked it up.  I read several different sources, none of which have a definite statement about the origin of the phrase.  But, the explanation here at The Phrase Finder made sense to me:

The much more probable source of 'raining cats and dogs' is the prosaic fact that, in the filthy streets of 17th/18th century England, heavy rain would occasionally carry along dead animals and other debris. The animals didn't fall from the sky, but the sight of dead cats and dogs floating by in storms could well have caused the coining of this colourful phrase. Jonathan Swift described such an event in his satirical poem 'A Description of a City Shower', first published in the 1710 collection of the Tatler magazine. The poem was a denunciation of contemporary London society and its meaning has been much debated. While the poem is metaphorical and doesn't describe a specific flood, it seems that, in describing water-borne animal corpses, Swift was referring to an occurrence that his readers would have been well familiar with

You can read the poem, if you are so inclined, at the link above.

We don't have any rain in the forecast here in San Diego, but we have a cat and dogs!

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