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(it's) raining cats and dogs

Meaning: You can say "it's raining cats and dogs" if it's raining very hard.

For example:

  • We can't go now because it's raining cats and dogs.

  • Why do people always use "it's raining cats and dogs" as an example of an idiom? No-one actually uses it any more, do they?

Origin: The first time this phrase appeared in print was in Jonathan Swift's A Complete Collection of Polite and Ingenious Conversation in 1738, in which he wrote, "I know Sir John will go, though he was sure it would rain cats and dogs". The phrase's source before this time remains a mystery, despite the many theories that have been put forward to explain its origin.

Quick Quiz:

It's raining cats and dogs, so
  1. watch out for falling animals
  2. make sure you take an umbrella
  3. keep your pets inside

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