Thursday, November 1, 2012

Thursday Trivia: Raining Cats & Dogs

 Did you know the origin of the phrase, "it's raining cats and dogs"?


Neither do etymologists! (The peeps who study the origin of words)

Here's what the Library of Congress has to say about its possible origins:

"Etymologists have suggested a variety of mythological and literal explanations for why people say “it’s raining cats and dogs” to describe a heavy downpour. Here are some of the popular theories:
  • Odin, the Norse god of storms, was often pictured with dogs and wolves, which were symbols of wind. Witches, who supposedly rode their brooms during storms, were often pictured with black cats, which became signs of heavy rain for sailors. Therefore, “raining cats and dogs” may refer to a storm with wind (dogs) and heavy rain (cats). 
  • “Cats and dogs” may come from the Greek expression cata doxa, which means “contrary to experience or belief.” If it is raining cats and dogs, it is raining unusually or unbelievably hard. 
  • “Cats and dogs” may be a perversion of the now obsolete word catadupe. In old English, catadupe meant a cataract or waterfall. A version of catadupe existed in many old languages.In Latin, for example, catadupa. was borrowed from the classical Greek κατάδουποι, which referred to the cataracts of the Nile River. So, to say it’s raining “cats and dogs” might be to say it’s raining waterfalls. 
  • A false theory stated that cats and dogs used to cuddle into thatch roofs during storms and then be washed out during heavy rains. However, a properly maintained thatch roof is naturally water resistant and slanted to allow water to run off. In order to slip off the roof, the animals would have to be lying on the outside—an unlikely place for an animal to seek shelter during a storm. "

Our fave is cata doxa - what's yours?

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source: Library of Congress online, http://www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/mysteries/rainingcats.html



25 comments:

  1. We never knew where that saying came from. Thanks. Have a terrific Thursday.
    Best wishes Molly

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  2. I'm just glad it doesn't LITERALLY happen!

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    1. Us too! That sounds kinda painful , actually...

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  3. We've heard the thatch roof theory and it just didn't make any sense. With the kind of rain we have, Mommy often says raining hippos and elephants. Isn't she just silly?

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  4. We're going with cata doxa too.
    Good thing it never REALLY happens.
    You know, like when pigs fly.

    ; )

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    1. Groannnn... *perk* HEY! Another Trivia topic!

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  5. How interesting. :) Thank you for another great post!
    Purrrs xx
    Sherlock,Ash and Traveler

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  6. Yup, we really don't want to see cats and dogs coming out of the sky. But interesting info. Thanks. Have a super day.

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  7. Cata Doxa sounds best to us too. We never knew where the saying came from.

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  8. That was fun and I don't have any better thought as to how the phrase originated but all are fun. xox

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  9. Hmm, I dont have a link or anything, but I looked that up years ago and yes, it did have to do with the thached roofs. The thing is, thached roofs are a haven for mice and other small crittes, so cats would roam the roofs hunting, some dogs too. So if it rained hard, the cat and dogs might slip off the roof. That's what I learned anyway... I love finding out what things mean!

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  10. That was pretty cool and proves that humans don't know everything!

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  11. Thank you for let me know this!!
    I learn more today.

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  12. Very cool info! We like catadupe....we don't know why...it just sounds funny!

    The Florida Furkids

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  13. How about the phrase It's Raining Men? MOL!

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  14. We just lived this expression with Sandy! Ugh!

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    1. Ouch. Yeah we kinda thought of that - AFTER mommy posted.

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  15. TBT here: I'll go with cata doxa, on the linguistic recognition that foreign phrases get turned into understandable local words. Like South African "krall" (animal enclosure) became english "corral".

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    1. oooh COOL! We learned something today too! Thanks for posting that!

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  16. We really like "catadupe"...the picture of a waterfall coming down from the sky is great ... thanks for sharing this *snoogles* from @GizmoGeodog

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  17. always wondered about that...Mom's English friend calls it "chucking it down"...makes more sense really than dumping cats and dogs out of the sky!

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  18. That's very interesting! In French the equivalent expression is "raining like a pissing cow." I kid you not!
    I liked the mythological version of cats and dogs.
    Purrs

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Coolio! A comment? For US?