Cats and dogs???

I couldn’t find a thread on this so here goes:

When I was at primary school (some forty years ago) I was taught that “raining cats and dogs” was a standard expression in British English (this was in Sweden). I even think I was told to teach it to my own students when I, as result of some temporary insanity, became a teacher later on (I’m not anymore).

Now, what I would like to know is this: could you still use it without sounding totally silly, and in what parts of the World? If not, how long ago did it disappear from everyday usage?

You could use it in the UK without sounding totally silly just so long as you do so in a way which lets everybody know you know that you sound just a bit silly. Does that make sense?

Thank you. I had a feeling it was something like that.

Well, golly gee whiz, here in Mid-America it’s still in standard usage. Dunno where you’re speaking to us from, Floater, but AFAIK anywhere “from California to the New York island” you can still use it with a perfectly straight face, no need for elaborate facial grimacing to indicate that you are deliberately using some quaint old-fashioned expression like “the bee’s knees” or “so’s your old man”.

What English-language group are YOU speaking from, Ticker? If I may be so bold as to inquire… [grimacing elaborately to indicate deliberate use of quaint old-fashioned expression] The UK? Ah, yes, I believe they do tend to be rather more self-conscious about slang. Now, us damn Yankees, we just r’ar back and let fly. “Hellfire!” we shout, looking out the window. “It’s a-rainin’ cats and dogs! Sure cain’t fix the roof today, not while it’s a-leakin’, no sir, hand me the remote, willya…”


Ah, but you yanks can’t help but sound a bit silly, now can you? :smiley:

God bless Mother Nature.

It’s raining men!

(I can’t help being a bit silly, I’m a yank.)

If you do use the expression before going out in the rain, make sure you don’t step in any poodles.
Ahhh… memories of early puns :slight_smile:

The modern, unexpurgated version of the phrase is:
[ul]“It’s raining catshit and dogshit.”[/ul]
This is acceptable everywhere. Teach it to your pupils.


The equivalent phrase in German (Austrian) is: It’s raining cobblers’ apprentices.

And in Afrikaans: It’s raining grandmothers with knobkerries.

Which is remarkably similar to the expression used in North Wales: It’s raining old women and sticks.


The proper expression is always Dogs and cats.


in parts of france, the expression is “it’s raining like cow piss.” Now that’s a storm I don’t want to be in!

I know you didn’t ask for the etymology, but I feel compelled to say that (according to my favourite etymologist) nobody knows.

The phrase used around here is comme une vache qui pisse i.e. ‘like a cow pissing’. It only compares the flow of the rain to that of a urinating bovine, and does not at all imply any other urinary qualities of the precipitation.
obligatory bad joke:
What’s worse than raining cats and dogs?
Hailing taxicabs…

merde! Those buttons are to close. I swear I ment to ‘preview’