(it's) raining cats and dogs
Meaning: You can say "it's raining cats and dogs" if it's raining very hard.
- 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?
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.
It's raining cats and dogs, so
- watch out for falling animals
- make sure you take an umbrella
- keep your pets inside