'It's a gully-washer' and other ways some people say, 'It's raining'

'It's raining cats and dogs' isn't the only way to describe heavy rain

You've probably heard some old nursery rhymes to describe when it's raining outside -- "Rain, Rain, Go Away," and "It's Raining, It's Pouring," to name a few.

And while we use terms like downpour, shower and sprinkle to describe rain, there are a few other phrases that people sometimes use to describe it.

It's raining cats and dogs

This term is used to describe heavy rain. No one knows where this phrase originated, but the Library of Congress says it may have roots in Norse mythology or from medieval superstitions.

"No, we aren't going to have lunch outside. It's raining cats and dogs outside!"


This term is used to describe a brief, heavy rainstorm. Dictionary.com describes this term as being used in the Midwest and western U.S.

"I can see storm clouds moving in, and it looks like a real gully-washer!"

It's raining pitchforks

The origins of this phrase aren't known, but it's also used to describe heavy rainfall.

"We were hoping that our family vacation to California would be sunny, but it rained pitchforks the entire time."

It's bucketing down

This is another way to describe heavy rain that may have originated overseas.

"Have you looked outside? It's bucketing down!"

The Devil is bowling

This is used to describe conditions during a thunderstorm.

"This is quite the storm! It sounds like the Devil is bowling."


This expression describes torrential rain that may have begun with the idea that it rains so hard that frogs can drown, according to writingexplained.com.

"Take your umbrella with you today! It's going to be a real frog-strangler out there later."


Another slang term used to describe a heavy rain event.

"You may think your tent will protect you from the elements, but what if there's a goose-drowner rainstorm?"