Raining Cats and Dogs (Origin)

by Craig Shrives

What Is the Origin of the Saying "Raining Cats and Dogs"?

The term raining cats and dogs derives from Victorian times when street drainage was so poor that pets left on the streets would drown during rain storms. After the rainfall, the dead cats and dogs strewn across the streets made it appear as though it had been raining cats and dogs.

A Competing Theory

The term raining cats and dogs derives from Victorian times when household pets, like cats and dogs, slept during the night on the eaves of houses. When it rained heavily, the water from the roof washed them off the eaves, and they came down with the torrent of water from the roofs of houses. As it appeared as though the cats and dogs had fallen with the rain, the term raining cats and dogs was born.
Raining Cats and Dogs (Origin)

Examples of Use:

  • You can't go for a bike ride. It's raining cats and dogs out there.
  • Dad, it's raining cats and dogs. Can you take me in the car?
  • It's been raining cats and dogs all morning. We'll have to postpone the match.

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See Also

What are idioms? What is figurative language? A list of common grammar errors A list of easily confused words A list of sayings and proverbs

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