How Different Languages Say “It’s Raining Cats and Dogs”.

Idioms can tell us a lot about how speakers of a certain language express themselves. One interesting idiom that has an amazing and interesting variety across languages is the one describing rainfall. English uses “it’s raining cats and dogs” to describe heavy rainfall. But what do speakers of other languages say when it’s raining cats and dogs? Let’s find out. (If you don’t see your language, please add it in a comment).


Spanish

It’s raining dung head-first. Esta lloviendo caen soretes de punta.” 

French

“It’s raining like a pissing cow.”Il pleut comme une vache qui pisse”.

Afrikaans

It’s raining old women with clubs.“Ou vrouens met knopkieries reen.”

Maltese 

The doors of heaven have opened up.infetħu bibien is-sema


German

It’s raining/pouring shoemakers.”Es regnet/gießt Schusterjungs.”

Slovak 

Tractors are falling. “Padajú traktory.”

Danish 

It’s raining cobbler boys. “Det regner skomagerdrenge.”

Greek 

It’s raining chair legs.“Rixnei kareklopodara.” 


Hebrew

A flood is coming down. yoréd mabúl”

Moroccan Arabic

It’s raining like a thread from the sky. “katsob khayt mn sma.”

Irish 

It’s throwing cobblers knives.“Tá sé ag caitheamhsceana gréasaí”

Japanese

Earth and sand are falling.土砂降りである (doshaburi de aru)


Turkish

It’s raining like long strings of rope.“Sicim gibi yağmur yağıyor.”

Brazilian Portuguese 

It’s raining pocket knives. It’s raining frogs’ beards.Está chovendo canivetes or Está chovendo barba de sapo.

Polish 

It’s throwing frogs.“Rzuca żabami.”

Cantonese

dog shit is falling.落狗屎 (lohk gáusí)


Norwegian

It’s raining female trolls.“Det regner trollkjerringer.”

Serbian 

The rain falls and kills the mice.Пада киша уби миша (Pada kiša, ubi miša)

Swedish

It’s raining like rods / ladles / the rain stands like rods in the hillside.Det spöregnar / ösregnar / Regnet står som spön i backen.”



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138 thoughts on “How Different Languages Say “It’s Raining Cats and Dogs”.”

  1. Russian

    It’s pouring like from the basket.
    “Льёт как из ведра” (Transcription: Lyot kak iz vedra).

      1. In Serbian it’s the same, “Lije kao iz kabla”. We borrowed Kubel from German and changed a prononciation a bit. When I was younger, I thought it was about a cable ?, which is not so strange after all, considering we had “ropes” in some other comment.

      1. In Romanian, two versions: “It rains like breaking everything” or ” “It’s pouring like from a bucket” // “Plouă de rupe” or “Toarnă cu găleata”

    1. Look at the beauty of Arabic and Maltese! The only languages that connect to the sky! It reflects in the cultures of course.

    1. I was hoping to see that one. I was always under the impressions that the pissing cow one was not used in polite conversation but “il pleut des cordes” is more acceptable.

  2. In Italian:
    It’s raining like God’s sending it! (Piove che Dio la manda!)
    It’s raining from buckets/basins! (Piove a secchiate/catinelle!)
    It’s a diruptive rain! (Piove a dirotto!)

  3. In German you say also: Es regnet Bindfäden (It’s raining strings). In Dutch we say: Het regent pijpestelen (It’s raining pipesticks).

      1. Turkish

        It’s raining as if poured from a glass.

        “Bardaktan boşalırcasına yağıyor.”

    1. It’s the second option, but both “Rzuca żabami” and “Leje jak z cebra” are used.

        1. “Pluje żabami” – to tak. Ale ogólnopolska norma językowa to chyba “Leje jak z cebra”.

      1. In Québec, we also say it’s raining buckets

        Il pleut à sceau

        Or it’s raining threads

        Il pleut des cordes

        Or it rains to drink standing

        Il pleut à boire debout.

  4. In Portuguese (Brazil), we also say “the world is falling apart” (“Está caindo o mundo!”).

    And “raining pocket knives” is actually used for something else, at least in my place. We use to show surprise when something VERY unlikely to happen actually happens, or to state that something won’t happen at all. “I can’t believe that happened! It will be raining pocket knives”.

    1. That’s the same in English when we say ‘when pigs fly’… that is it will be impossible that something should happen. Actually this blog should list some of those in foreign languages. They are called ‘adynaton’ the thing that is impossible to happen.

    2. In the states of Rio de Janeiro and Espírito Santo (Brazil), at least, “raining pocket knives” means “raining cats and dogs”, as suggested by the article.

    3. In Dutch we say “het regent pijpenstelen”. I don’t know how to translate it exactly, kind of “it’s raning the long ends of a pipe”, referring to the 17th century smoking pipes made of clay. (Google “goudse pijp” for examples.)

    1. Also in Icelandic: Its raining fire and sulphur – Það rignir eldi og brennisteini

  5. Dutch: Het regent pijpenstelen – it’s raining pipe handles
    German: Es regnet Bindfäden – it’s raining threads/cords
    Es regnet wie aus Gießkannen – it’s raining like a watering can

    1. That’s like the song “it’s raining men Hallelujah” , in some parts of Mexico you can also hear “Está lloviendo a cántaros “

  6. Bulgarian:
    It’s pouring like out from a basket (Лее се като из ведро. Lee se kato iz vedro)

    1. Also “The sky has opened.” “Небето се разтвори.”

    2. Again hete the proper word is bucket or even better- tub(кофа, ведро) not basket (кош, кошница)
      So the expression is “It’s pouring as if from a tub.”

  7. The Spanish one is redundant. You say: “Están cayendo/Caen soretes de punta”.
    With “raining”, you’d say: “Está lloviendo/Llueve a cántaros” (it means something like “it’s pouring”).

  8. As a native German i habe never heard your version of “Schusterjungs” – it might be regional.

    Here it rains “Bindfäden” (string) or “aus Eimern/Kübeln” (from buckets).

  9. In French also: il pleut des hallebarde. Its raining in halberd.
    Seems a halberd is a long pole with a scimitar-like head

    1. “Il pleut des hallebardes” = It’s raining halberds.
      (Those are axe blades mounted on long poles.)

  10. The slovak idiom for heavy rain is- it is pouring like from a watering can. Tractors are in different idiom : even if tractors will be falling (from the sky)- meaning something sure, that is going to happen no matter what

  11. “Caen soretes de punta” is an Argentinian saying. Standard Spanish would be:
    Llueve a cántaros – it’s raining pitchers
    Llueve a mares – it’s raining seas

  12. The Serbian one is inaccurate. “Pada kiša, ubi miša” is a rhyme grown-ups sometimes say to kids when it’s raining.

    The actual thing we say when it’s raining cats and dogs would be “Lije kao iz kabla.” The meaning is the same as the expression in Russian and Romanian (written above): “It’s pouring like from a bucket.”

  13. Canadien French

    I never heard the one in french in the post. Maybe in France?

    Il pleut à scieau (More from the province of Quebec)
    (Le mot scieau n’existe pas, mais il provient du mot “sceau”, prononcé avec un “i” dans cette expression)
    – It’s raining from bucket

    Il pleut des cordes
    – It’s raining ropes

    Il pleut à boire debout
    – It’s raining To drink standing up

    1. *Scieau -> “sieau” pour seau (bucket)
      (Sceau= seal/stamp)

      “sieau” is something you could hear from old people in la Sarthe, France, north of Loire valley, south of Normandie, where people from Québec are mainly originally from.
      They also say “ieau” instead of “eau” (water) so you can hear them saying “un sieau d’ieau”

      1. En créole martiniquais (probablement guadeloupéen aussi), seau se dit “sio”, ce qui n’est pas surprenant vu que ce sont surtout des Français de Normandie et de la façade atlantique qui ont colonisé les Antilles. Ils ont laissé leurs traces dans le créole 🙂

  14. French Canadian (Quebecois) have a really colorful language. i heard mostly 3 way to this expression here.

    it’s raining nails (mostly mean that the rain hit really hard)
    -il pleut des clous

    it’s raining cords (it’s an old unit of measurement for firewoods) (it could also refer to ropes instead of cords)
    -il pleut des cordes

    and my favorite:
    It rains to drink standing
    -Il pleut à boire debout

  15. Hungarian?

    Zuhog, mintha dézsából öntenék.
    It’s pouring like a flood from a vat.

  16. In Sardinian we say in different versions a sentence like “The sky/air is tumbling down”

    1. Finnish also:
      Sataa kuin saavista kaataen = rains like it’s poured from a bucket
      Sataa kuin aisaa = rains like beams

  17. Correct for French would be: Il pleut comme vache qui pisse (so without the “une”).

    In Dutch, they Say: Het regent pijpestelen (> It rains pipe stems)

  18. What is the shoemaker/cobbler connection? Thought it may be a German Danish pun but Ireland too???

  19. In Welsh, we use the phrase:

    “Mae’n bwrw hen wragedd â ffyn”,

    which translated means:

    “It’s raining old ladies with sticks”.

  20. Spanish: Estan cayendo chuzos de punta. Some time ago there were “serenos”, some kind of night guard in the big cities in Spain. They had the key of the buildings in the area they covered. People will clap their hands and call “sereno!!” and he hill hit the ground with the baton (chuzo) which was also a defense tool, and come to open the door. They were very helpful and knew everyone in the neighborhood! So, they are falling batons, is the translation. De punta, means straight down, not horizontally.

  21. In Venezuelan Spanish we have: “Está cayendo un palo de agua”, which literally means “a stick of water is falling”.

  22. In Mandarin-
    It is 倾盆大雨-qing(1)pen(2)da(4)yu(3)
    (Dumping bucket of big of rain)

    Korean: 비가 억수같이 내린다
    The rain is falling like a downpour

  23. There is an alternative saying in Turkish;
    The sky has a hole/puncture.
    I heard your version too, but I think if it’s a thunderstorm with rain, we use the puncture one. ?

    It’s raining like long strings of rope.
    “Sicim gibi yağmur yağıyor.”

  24. The danish expression is that it is raining shoemaker’s boys(apprentices). Once there was a shoemaker in Copenhagen with a really bad temper. On one of his bad days he got angry with one of his boys and threw him out of the Window from the second floor. His other four apprentices complained to him that her shouldn’t have done that, and he threw Them out as well. Only one survived.

  25. Thai
    It’s raining like the rain is crying and cannot open its eyes and ears.
    ฝนตกไม่ลืมหูลืมตา [Fon tok mâi leum hŏo leum dtaa]

  26. In Egypt we say:
    (أبواب السما اتفتحت)
    Which means ( all the gates of heaven has opened)

  27. In Farsi we say it’s raining like the tail of a horse. Or:
    “Mesle dome asb baran mi ayad”

  28. Only heard the Norwegian version about snow. It snows female trolls. “Det snør trollkjerringer”
    It rains as from a bucket. “Det bøtter ned” Most common one.
    Or it rains as heavens gates is open, “Det regner som om himmelens sluser er åpne.”

  29. Another Norwegian variation is
    “Det regner tollekniver og gamle kjerringer”
    It’s raining pocket knives and old hags/wives

  30. In Turkish, “sicim gibi yağıyor” is when it rains without turbulance, just steadily.
    The correct translation for “it’s raining cats and dogs” in Tukish is
    “Bardaktan boşalırcasına yağıyor,”
    which literally translates as “it’s raining as if flowing/falling from a cup”.

  31. I’d like to add to this one:
    Norwegian
    It’s raining female trolls.
    “Det regner trollkjerringer.”

    An ‘enhanced’ version goes:
    It’s raining female trolls. With axes…
    “Det regner trollkjerringer. Med øks…”
    As well as grumpy bobcats!
    “I tillegg til sure hankatter!”

  32. GEORGIAN
    Rains as from the spout of a jar
    კოკისპირულად წვიმს (k’ok’isp’irulad ts’vims)

  33. French Canadian
    « Il pleut à pisser debout »
    It rains so much you could pee standing up 

  34. Romanian: “It rains like breaking everything” or “It’s pouring like from a bucket” // “Plouă de rupe” or “Toarnă cu găleata”

  35. „Leje jak z cebra” this is the Polish one. I have never heard “frog” one in my life. It is correct but rarely spoken.

    Ceber – it is a name for a basket which was used to transport water. I you were to pour out of it the water it would come down in sheets.

  36. In French, we actually say, “Il pleut comme vache qui pisse” – without the article… and we also say, “Il pleut des cordes” (It’s raining ropes).

  37. In Cymraeg (Welsh)
    South Wales : mae’n bwrw cyllyll a ffyrc. (It’s raining knives and forks)
    North Wales: Mae’n bwrw hen wragedd â ffyn. (It’s raining old ladies with sticks).
    We have many other descriptions of rain as you can imagine as we have so much of it. The above are the maon ones for hard rainfall.

  38. Iberian/Peninsular Spanish
    It’s raining dung head-first.
    “Esta lloviendo caen soretes de punta.”

    Latin American Spanish
    It’s raining pitchers/buckets.
    “Está lloviendo a cántaros.”

    It’s raining spikes/spears.
    “Está lloviendo a chuzos.”

  39. Neapolitan
    Sta facenn o pate pate ‘e l’ acqua
    Something like the very father of all water is coming down.

  40. The translation of the German one should be identical to the Danish one, “It’s raining cobbler’s boys”. According to the rigion, the German “Schusterjunge/Schusterbub” can refer to a kind of breadroll or pastry.

  41. Italian:
    Piove che dio la manda (It’s raining like God is sending that)
    Piove a catinelle (Rains like buckets)

  42. Swedish
    It’s raining like rods / ladles / the rain stands like rods in the hillside.
    “Det spöregnar / ösregnar / Regnet står som spön i backen.”

    Actually, a better translation would be “The rain stands like rods in the ground”.
    Sure, “Backe/Backen” can mean “(the) hill[side]”, like “gå upp för backen” = “Walk up the hill”, but it also used for the ground, like “Det ramlade i backen” = “It fell to the ground” (lit. “It fell in the ground”).

    And “Ladles” is a weird translation of “Ösregnar”. “Ösregnar” literary means “Pouring rain”/”It’s pouring down” (Ös(er) = Pour(ing), regnar = raining).

  43. In Polish instead of “Rzuca żabami” I’d rather say “Pluje żabami” ie. “It’s spitting frogs”, which could be funny because of the English (opposite) meaning of the phrase “It’s spitting”.

  44. In Dutch, besides the other variations listed we also say ‘it’s raining bricks’, ‘her regent bakstenen’.

  45. That isn’t true!!!! NOBODY says ‘sorete’ in Spanish from Spain!
    We also say: está lloviendo a cántaros or ‘están cayendo chuzos de punta’ as other person said before.

  46. Are curse words allowed?

    Portuguese from ??

    Its raining like the c**k
    Chove como o cara**o

    (c**k is a very common “unit” of measure here ?)

  47. મુશળધાર વરસાદ પડે છે
    (Mushaldhaar varsaad pade chhe)
    Meaning – It’s raining in streams like pestles (large clubs to break grain into flour)
    Gujarati

  48. Hungarian +1:
    “It is splitting” like the reason of the rain was clouds splitting 🙂
    “szakad”

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