raining cats and dogs
The phrase "raining cats and dogs" is of unknown
etymology. A number of improbable folk etymologies have been put forward
to explain the phrase, for example:
In 16th century Europe when peasant
homes were commonly thatched, the home was constructed in such a manner that
animals could crawl into the thatch and find shelter from the elements, and
would fall out during heavy rain. Drainage systems on buildings in 17th century
Europe were poor, and may have disgorged their contents during heavy showers,
including the corpses of any animals that had accumulated in them. This occurrence
is documented in Johnathan Swift's 1710 poem 'Description of a City Shower',
in which he describes "Drowned puppies, stinking sprats, all drenched in mud,/Dead
cats and turnip-tops come tumbling down the flood." The Greek word Katadoupoi,
referring to the waterfalls on the Nile, sounds similar to "cats and dogs"
The Greek phrase "kata doksa", which means "contrary to expectation" is often
applied to heavy rain, but there is no evidence to support the theory that it
was borrowed by English speakers.
"Raining animals." Wikipedia, The
Free Encyclopedia. 28 Jan 2009, 16:10 UTC. 26 Feb 2009 http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Raining_animals&oldid=266987715.