Fact Check

Real Idioms for 'It's Raining Cats and Dogs' in Different Languages?

A post claimed it was raining "female trolls" in Norway and "chair legs" in Greece.

Published April 9, 2024

 (X user @AdamCSharp)
Image courtesy of X user @AdamCSharp
A post shared on X correctly listed idioms indicating heavy rain in English, Welsh, French, Finnish, Norwegian, Greek and Slovak.

Idioms are a fascinating aspect of language, reflecting cultural peculiarities and often involving hyperbole or humor to describe common experiences, such as weather. A post shared on X (formerly Twitter) in 2020 listed alleged idioms indicating heavy rain in seven languages: English, Welsh, French, Finnish, Norwegian, Greek and Slovak.

The viral post claimed that it was raining:

  • "Cats and dogs" in English.
  • "Old ladies and sticks" in Welsh.
  • "Like a p***ing cow" in French.
  • "As from Esteri's a**" in Finnish.
  • "Female trolls" in Norwegian.
  • "Chair legs" in Greek.
  • "Tractors" in Slovak.

The last example mentioned in the post, "It's raining men (hallelujah)," was a joke referencing the song "It's Raining Men" by The Weather Girls.

In short, all of the non-English idioms in the viral post exist, and therefore we have rated the claim "True."

First of all, the expression "it's raining cats and dogs" is a well-known English idiom used to describe a heavy rainstorm. Snopes previously wrote about the idiom's origins in an article debunking claims about life in the 1500s. 

Below you can find the equivalents of the aforementioned idioms in their languages:

  • French: Il pleut comme vache qui pisse.
  • Norwegian: Det regner trollkjerringer.
  • Welsh: Mae hi'n bwrw hen wragedd a ffyn.
  • Finnish: Sataa kuin Esterin perseestä.
  • Greek: βρέχει καρεκλοπόδαρα.
  • Slovak: Padajú traktory.

The European Commission Speech Repository website says "Il pleut comme vache qui pisse" (It's raining like a p***ing cow) is a French slang expression, equivalent to the English "it's raining cats and dogs."

Similarly, the Norwegian "Det regner trollkjerringer" is an authentic idiom used to describe a heavy rain and equivalent of "it's raining cats and dogs," according to Norway's NRK broadcasting company. "Det regner" means "it rains"; while the Cambridge Dictionary says "trollkjerringer" means "witch" in English, Det Norske Akademis ordbok — one of the largest dictionaries of the Norwegian language — says that in folklore the word actually means "female troll." 

According to a British Council article titled "A few Welsh language words, phrases and facts," the Welsh idiom "Mae hi'n bwrw hen wragedd a ffyn" literally translates to "it's raining elderly ladies and sticks" and means it's raining heavily.

The Greek idiom "βρέχει καρεκλοπόδαρα" translates to "rain chair legs" and has a meaning of "it's raining buckets" or "raining cats and dogs," according to the bab.la online dictionary.

An article published by Savon Sanomat, a Finnish-language newspaper, said "Sataa kuin Esterin perseestä" (It rains like from Ester's a**) was an old folk saying, meaning that it was raining heavily. Moreover, the bab.la dictionary says it is the equivalent of "raining cats and dogs" in English.

Finally, the Slovak expression "Padajú traktory" translates to "Tractors are falling," and is yet another idiomatic expression equivalent to the English "it's raining cats and dogs," according to the book "Around the World in 80 Cliches."

We have previously explored other language-related topics. For instance, in March 2024, we investigated whether a medieval Italian man Bartelomeo Colleoni's last name meant "balls" in Italian and his coat of arms featured testicle-inspired symbols. We also encourage you to take a look at "The Snopes Guide to Fake Etymology" collection.


AnglictinaRychlo.sk. "Anglické idiomy - 44 English idioms -." Anglictinarychlo.sk, https://www.anglictinarychlo.sk/anglicke-frazy/anglicke-idiomy-44-english-idioms/. Accessed 5 Apr. 2024.

Det Norske Akademis Ordbok. https://naob.no/ordbok/trollkjerring. Accessed 5 Apr. 2024.

It's Raining Cats and Dogs! 3 Apr. 2024, https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/it-s-raining-cats-and-dogs.

Lee, Laura. Around the World in 80 Cliches: Overused Expressions from Across the Globe. Book Sales, 2016.

magrihu. Animal Expressions. 3 Nov. 2022, https://speech-repository.webcloud.ec.europa.eu/news/animal-expressions.

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NRK. "Metaforer til besvær." NRK, 21 Apr. 2005, https://www.nrk.no/kultur/metaforer-til-besvaer-1.896287.

---. "Metaforer til besvær." NRK, 21 Apr. 2005, https://www.nrk.no/kultur/metaforer-til-besvaer-1.896287.

"Oletko ihmetellyt sanontaa 'Sataa kuin Esterin p*rseestä'? Tästä se juontaa juurensa." Savon Sanomat, 14 July 2015, https://www.savonsanomat.fi/paikalliset/3003688.

The Weather Girls - It's Raining Men (Video). www.youtube.com, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5aZJBLAu1E. Accessed 5 Apr. 2024.

Wrona, Aleksandra. "True Story of Medieval Italian's Surname and Coat of Arms with Nutty Double Meaning?" Snopes, 6 Mar. 2024, https://www.snopes.com//fact-check/colleoni-nutty-meaning/.

Aleksandra Wrona is a reporting fellow for Snopes, based in the Warsaw area.