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GtO 1: It's Raining Cats and Dogs

 
 
Roberta
 
Reply Thu 1 May, 2003 03:49 am
GtO=Guess the Origin.

It's raining cats and dogs. This expression means that it's raining very hard, teeming, pouring.

Can you guess how this expression arose? All speculation will be appreciated. Please don't look it up. A good guess is all I ask. I'll reveal the answer in a few days.

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There are some strange expressions in English that have some interesting, bizarre, and/or semiobvious origins. I'm planning to run a series of these. I thought it might be fun for a2kers to guess before the answer is revealed.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 5,607 • Replies: 24
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the prince
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 May, 2003 04:07 am
I know this one...but boomarking to see what others come up with !!
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msolga
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 May, 2003 04:13 am
I'll wait & see then .... No idea!
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 May, 2003 05:23 am
I have heard an answer that is making the rounds on the internet and I understand it is so much hogwash--just as likely as a scuba diver being sucked in the water for aerial forest fire fighting.

Have you ever seen a thatched roof? Mice could frolic and clamber if the thatch were not well maintained, but not cats--and certainly not dogs. Nor would a harried housewife of the Renaissance put up with animals both underfoot and overhead.

I believe "raining cats and dogs" came not from animals cascading from a thatched cottage ceiling, but from an American wit of the era of tall tales who took the Biblical plagues (and flood) and the rumored rains of frogs and fish.

Our homegrown leg-puller looked at a real gullywasher and hollered, "Wet? Hell, its raining cats and dogs."
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margo
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 May, 2003 06:25 am
My parent's always said it was raining cats, dogs and pitchforks!

I don't know how those pitchforks got in there - must be something related to hell?? Confused
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 May, 2003 06:34 am
As far as I remember, there are about five or even six explanations to this.

margo

Those 'pitchforks' come from other pictreque sayings for heavy rain: 'It's raining like pitchforks, hammer handles, and even chicken coops.'

And in German, 'it's raining binding twines' [stair-rods].
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Roberta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 May, 2003 06:57 am
Noddy, I've heard the explanation about cats and dogs falling through thatched roofs. I don't know where it came from, but the answer here is from an etymological source and has nothing to do with thatched roofs. I like your guess about the gullywasher.

Margo, Pitchforks? New one to me.

Walter, Chicken coops!? Everybody duck!

Is Noddy the only one to hazard a guess?
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 May, 2003 11:51 pm
A serious rain in my town rains with - aside from something so routine as volume - something called hail...big thwoppers of hard rain falling. Ice chunks if you will. But big, as in cats and dogs.

Ok, I made that up.
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New Haven
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 May, 2003 12:38 am
"It's Raining Men"...The WeatherGirls.
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mac11
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 May, 2003 07:25 am
Does it have to do with the noise level of a thunderstorm?

I'm looking forward to your explanation, Roberta! Very Happy
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New Haven
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 May, 2003 09:42 am
Men don't have anything to do with thunder!
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New Haven
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 May, 2003 09:43 am
Lightening, yes! Thnunder, no! Cool
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Roberta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 May, 2003 02:59 am
The Answer

Although there are a number of theories as to the origin of the expression "It's raining cats and dogs," the one that seems likely to be the true origin is Teutonic/Nordic.

The wind was believed to be the god Odin's dog. When it poured, it was believed that the dog was chasing a cat, which took the form of rain. So when there was a driving rain storm, it was said that Odin was dropping cats and dogs from the sky.

Another theory concerning the origin of the expression stems from England. Stray dogs and cats lived in the sewers of the city of London. After a heavy rainfall, the bodies of drowned animals were scattered around the streets, giving the impression that they had fallen to earth with the rain.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 May, 2003 05:10 am
There are really some more theories.

http://www.rainingcatsanddogs.com/gfx/logo.gif

Re. Roberta's last mentioned:
It's raining menÂ… dogs, cats and fish and frogs

Others: World Wide Worlds

So, aware your head!
http://bertc.com/images/raining3.jpg
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cavfancier
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 May, 2003 05:16 am
Hey, I think that is my dog with legs akimbo in front of the red door...tell me I am wrong...

http://cinnabar10.tripod.com/austinspage

I was going to make something up about the ancient German word "Katzendogge" but I would have never got away with it... Laughing
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 May, 2003 05:25 am
A "Katzenhund" belongs in the realm of fiction (Fabel/fable).

You are correct about your dog, cav. (Does he ask for royalities now?)
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cavfancier
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 May, 2003 05:29 am
Not yet, and I certainly hope he doesn't learn to ask...he knows far too much English already...
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mac11
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 May, 2003 07:45 am
My brother swears that his dog now understands the word "walk" when it is spelled. I told him they'll have to switch to French. It's about time that dog learned a foreign language!
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 May, 2003 03:16 pm
Thanks for the General Information, Roberta.

Walter, I loved the picture.

I grew up with a dog whose vocabulary included both "ice cream" and "i-c-e-c-r-e-a-m". Her verbal skills focused on foot.

As an adult I owned a dog who could distinguish between "walkies", "ridies" (in the car) and "truckies". She was a notable eavesdropper for all sorts of conversations.
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Roberta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 May, 2003 03:23 pm
My cat has a fairly limited vocabulary, but he does know the word "cookies." If I don't want him to get worked into a lather, I have to spell that word when he's around.
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