Raining Cats and Dogs


The phrase ‘rain cats and dogs‘ is a weather related idiom that means it’s raining heavily outside.

Example: Elliot was supposed to play soccer with his friends at the park today. However, when he looked out the window, it was raining cats and dogs! “I won’t be able to play ball in this kind of weather,” he said while shaking his head.

1. Pouring rain
2. Raining buckets
3. When it rains it pours

It is raining cats and dogs.

The Origin Of ‘Raining Cats And Dogs’

The origin of the phrase it’s raining cats and dogs is at least 350 years old. Since the 17th century, this term has been used in some form or another to describe rainy weather. But why is that? Well, there are a few theories floating around that talk about how this saying originated, but ultimately, its origin remains unclear.

This expression shows up in print as early as 1653. For example, a modified form of it is seen in a comedy called The City Wit, written in 1653 by Richard Brome:

“It shall raine… Dogs and Polecats.”

The phrase with its modern wording comes as early as the year 1738. It is found in A Complete Collection of Genteel and Ingenious Conversation, by Jonathan Swift:

“I know Sir John will go, though he was sure it would rain cats and dogs.”

Example Sentences

Here is an example of this idiom in a sentence:

  • I was planning to go for a walk today, but it’s raining cats and dogs outside so I’ll have to wait until the weather calms down.

Similar Examples:

  • The sky is filled with dark clouds, so it’ll probably be pouring buckets soon.
  • Mike had to run out into the pouring rain so that he could roll up the windows to his car.

Tip: You can find the meaning of more English phrases on Know Your Phrase, just choose a letter at the top from the menu. It’ll take you to a list of common sayings, then all you have to do is click one to learn more details about it. There are hundreds of idioms on here to explore and browse through, so go check out the list!