W4W : What frog’s beards, troll women and p**s have in common


Image: Pixabay

Today my Wednesday Word Tangle word of the day is fashionably late.

Not that I find being late in any way fashionable or desirable – for me, being late for an appointment is akin to having root canal work done. It scratches at my brain like an angry kitten at a doorpost.

And I’ve never been fashionable anyway, not even years ago when I was young enough to be concerned about such things and you’re talking back in the days of huge hair, shoulder pads as wide as American football players’ protective gear and ra-ra skirts, which – for those of you too young to remember such aesthetic abominations – were not so much clothing as the frills collected from many windows worth of curtains all sewn together in one uncomfortable, unattractive and impractical cry for help.

Anyway, as this post is late and I had no idea what to do it on, I was sitting here, searching for inspiration when I cast my frantic eye towards the window  and what do I see but


Now, I know I’m being a typical Brit here, but I can’t help being amused and bemused by our weather. Until two weeks ago, we still had our radiators chugging out the heat and I was wearing my duvet socks and thermal vest (what did I say earlier about me being a fashion icon?) At the weekend, I was concerned the entire family would suffer heat stroke as we marched through the ethereal Wiltshire landscape of earthworks and burial hillocks on our way to Stonehenge (more in a future post). Today, my son was wringing out his underwear after cycling back from school.

The word Rain seems to be Middle English, derived from the Germanic, possibly from the Latin rigare (to moisten).

More interesting, though, are rainy sayings and euphemisms.

‘Peeing down’ or ‘peeing with rain’ is a eupehmistic version of the more earthy ‘p***ing down’.

Then there’s ‘Raining cats and dogs’, meaning to rain heavily – a wonderfully colourful idiom of cloudy derivation. My favourite origin story for this is that it could have meant downpours heavy enough to wash the corpses of dead pets from guttering, flushing them onto passers by as if they were dropping straight from the clouds. I like that idea – very Medieval.

My nan used to say it was ‘raining stair rods’, stair rods being the metal poles that pinned carpet to stairs before carpet fitters discovered whatever the hell it is they use now. Imagine rain that falls straight and heavy as metal poles around three feet long and you’ll undrstand what she meant.

Other countries have some fantastic rainy idioms too. How about –

“It’s raining old women with clubs.” (South Africa and Namibia).

“It’s raining pilot whales.” (Faroe Islands).

“It’s raining like Esther sucks.” (Finland).

“It’s raining troll women.” (Norway).

“It’s raining frogs’ beards.” (Portuguese speaking countries).

“Tractors are falling.” (Slovakia and the Czech Republic).

I know our Irish cousins – like the lovely Kat from Kittykat Bits and Bobs – would say it’s a “soft day”.

So, do you know any other rainy sayings to add to the list? The more outlandish the better.


Respect due to my blogging pal, Kat, the mother of W4W.

8 thoughts on “W4W : What frog’s beards, troll women and p**s have in common

  1. Haha! The Irish with rain are like the Inuits with snow… So many ways to describe it!
    A soft day is more drizzle or misting.
    If it’s heavy we say it’s lashing down.
    I remember my lovely mother one day commenting on the deluge of rain and my sis and I falling over laughing at her very posh turn of phrase.
    Love the cats and dogs story to much!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, bless your mum! Yep, the Irish have had to be experts in the wet stuff – though we get a fair bit, being one of the wettest cities in Britain. I loved the cats and dogs story too – can just imagine the cats floating along on a river of Medieval waste water. Mmm

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha! Thanks Kelly. Yes, the ra-ra was not the height of fashion excellence. I never had the figure to fit in one at the time, something I hugely regretted in my teens – not so much now. 🙂


  2. My favorites are “It’s raining old women with clubs” and “It’s raining pilot whales.” But “it’s raining stair rods” is pretty good too. Never did understand what was meant by ‘raining cats and dogs’ but it kind of makes sense now. My least favorite kind of weather, rain. Glad to be back back somewhere where we don’t get too much of it but still have enough to drink, somehow. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They are good sayings, aren’t they? Got to love a colourful idiom. The sun is back with us here today, thank goodness – everything lush and lovely and growing like crazy in the garden. Thanks for reading, Walt 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. At our house, we call rainy days “PERFECTION”…we’re a little obsessed with rain. 🙂 Hubby once had a possible option to work in London for a few months (never ended up materializing) and I thought, “How wonderful! I’ve heard it’s always cloudy and raining.” When it’s warm rain, I still love to go out and run around and get soaked. My kids think I’m nuts. 🙂 Can’t wait to hear about Stonehenge!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Husband and I had a memorable night years ago, walking back late from a party. It thundered down – proper torrents filling the road – and we were drenched to the skin in seconds. We ran through the night, spalshing each other, met another young couple doing the same – simple, unabashed joy.
      London’s good for rain, but the West and North of the country are better! Nothing like snuggliing up with a good book and a hot chocolate as the sky opens 🙂


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