Monday, May 11, 2009

Raining Cats and Dogs!

When it pours like crazy, we often say that it’s “raining cats and dogs”. But where does this phrase actually originate? There are a number of theories about its origin, but the most likely explanation goes as follows. In seventeenth century England, the heavy rain would often carry in its wash the dead bodies of animals that were lying on the streets. Obviously, these animals didn’t literally come down with the rain, but the sight of them draining down the streets with heavy torrents of water created the association that when it rains especially hard, it’s as though it’s raining cats and dogs. In “A Description of a City Tower”, Jonathan Swift, describing the torrential downpours and poor sanitation of London town, said that “Now in contiguous Drops the Flood comes down,/Threat-ning with Deluge this devoted Town.” […] “Drown’d Puppies, stinking Sprats, all drench’d in Mud,/Dead Cats and Turnip-Tops comes tumbling down the Flood.”