As I listen to the light pitter patter of rain against my window pane I can imagine the locals running for cover (if they have even left the house at all.) The rain in Spain may fall mainly on the plain as in My Fair Lady, but anyone would think it was acid rain. However, rain for British people is an inevitable part of life. If you didn’t face it, you would become a hermit. The weather in general plays a large part in making small talk and rain is obviously no exception. We have a whole host of ways to describe it, classify it and comment on it. You thought it was just precipitation? Think again! Below you will find the terminology we use, roughly from light to heavy, a bit like a paint chart.
- It’s spitting. This is when there is just a sporadic drop of rain here and there.
- It’s drizzling. (The noun drizzle is also often used- It’s just drizzle) This is very fine rain that doesn’t really seem to be falling. It just hangs in the air.
- Fine rain. This is exactly what it says, although falling with more purpose than drizzle.
- A shower. This is when it rains in a short burst. They can range from light to heavy.
- It’s raining. A considerable amount of water falling. You want your umbrella.
- Heavy rain. Your socks are most probably wet through from the hole in your shoe.
- It’s pouring/it’s tipping it down/ it’s pissing it down (the last one is informal, obviously.) These are all ways of saying it’s raining a lot, it’s raining hard.
- It’s raining cats and dogs. The typical English idiom, not a literal biblical plague-like outburst of our furry friends, rather another way of saying it is raining a lot.
- Driving rain. This is not rain with four wheels but rain that is forced in a particular direction because of an accompanying strong wind.
The results of rain can often call for the use of extreme adjectives, wet is just not good enough. Soaked and drenched are commonly used along with sopping wet. To the skin/bone are often used to intensify soaked and drenched yet further. Someone can also comment on your sodden appearance by saying you look like a drowned rat. As you can probably guess, you don’t look good.
Did you know? A rain lover is called a pluviophile.