What does the idiom "It's raining cats and dogs" mean?

It's raining cats and dogs is an idiom used by many writers. When idioms are used in the right place, they open the doors of effective communication and increase your descriptive power. In this way, you will be better understood. The meaning of the expression It's raining cats and dogs is also remarkable in this respect.

Meaning of "It's raining cats and dogs"


The expression "it's raining cats and dogs" is an English language idiom used to describe a very heavy rain. It is quite an old expression, with the first known written record of it appearing in 1652, in an anonymous book called "Townez Course of Sermons".


The origin of the expression "it's raining cats and dogs" is uncertain. One popular theory suggests that it may be related to ancient Norse mythology, in which cats were associated with storms, and dogs with wind. In some areas of England, dogs ran loose in the streets, and when it rained heavily, they would often seek shelter in the eaves of houses and barns, thus creating the illusion that it was raining dogs.

Another theory suggests that the idiom may have been inspired by the heavy rainstorms that accompanied the Great Fire of London in 1666. There were so many cats, dogs, rats and other small animals running around trying to find shelter that it might have seemed like the rain was raining them down upon the city.

A third theory suggests that the expression may be derived from the Greek myth of Zeus, who turned the Lycian peasants into frogs, and the stormy-looking rain clouds into dogs and cats. Although this story has no direct link to the idiom, it is sometimes believed to be the origin of it.


The phrase "it's raining cats and dogs" is mainly used in informal contexts, usually in the form of a joke. It can be used in the past tense (it was raining cats and dogs) or in the present tense (it's raining cats and dogs). The idiom can also be used to exaggerate a situation, for example: "It was so busy in the store today, it was raining cats and dogs!"

Example Sentences

  • It was raining cats and dogs, so I decided to stay indoors and watch a movie.
  • I can't believe it's raining cats and dogs again—the weather's been so dry all summer!
  • I'll have to wait until it stops raining cats and dogs before I can go outside and mow the lawn.

The meanings of the words in the "It's raining cats and dogs" idiom

The Global Spread of English Idioms

As English has become a global language, its idioms have spread far beyond the borders of the UK and USA. For instance, the idiom "beat around the bush" has equivalents in many other languages, such as "tourner autour du pot" in French and "dar vueltas al asunto" in Spanish. Meanwhile, other idioms have been adapted for local contexts, such as the Russian idiom "?? ???? ???????" (ne svoya rubashka), which translates to "not one's own shirt," meaning to be in an uncomfortable or unfamiliar situation.


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