ACET Idiom of the Week!

This week’s idiom is Raining Cats and Dogs!

Raining_Cats_and_Dogs bill bell world of art

Picture: Bill Bell World of Art

We are continuing with our rain themed blogs this week! This idiom means that it is raining very heavily outside.

There are lots of possible origins of the saying but the one we believe and like most is that relating to Jonathan Swift! He wrote a poem called ‘A Description of a City Shower‘ in the 18th century which describes the effects of a heavy rain shower on the city of London. He describes how the heavy rain washed the bodies of the dead animals down the street!:

Careful observers may foretell the hour
(By sure prognostics) when to dread a shower:
While rain depends, the pensive cat gives o’er
Her frolics, and pursues her tail no more.
Returning home at night, you’ll find the sink
Strike your offended sense with double stink.
If you be wise, then go not far to dine;
You’ll spend in coach hire more than save in wine.
A coming shower your shooting corns presage,
Old achès throb, your hollow tooth will rage.
Sauntering in coffeehouse is Dulman seen;
He damns the climate and complains of spleen.
         Meanwhile the South, rising with dabbled wings,
A sable cloud athwart the welkin flings,
That swilled more liquor than it could contain,
And, like a drunkard, gives it up again.
Brisk Susan whips her linen from the rope,
While the first drizzling shower is born aslope:
Such is that sprinkling which some careless quean
Flirts on you from her mop, but not so clean:
You fly, invoke the gods; then turning, stop
To rail; she singing, still whirls on her mop.
Not yet the dust had shunned the unequal strife,
But, aided by the wind, fought still for life,
And wafted with its foe by violent gust,
’Twas doubtful which was rain and which was dust.
Ah! where must needy poet seek for aid,
When dust and rain at once his coat invade?
Sole coat, where dust cemented by the rain
Erects the nap, and leaves a mingled stain.
         Now in contiguous drops the flood comes down,
Threatening with deluge this devoted town.
To shops in crowds the daggled females fly,
Pretend to cheapen goods, but nothing buy.
The Templar spruce, while every spout’s abroach,
Stays till ’tis fair, yet seems to call a coach.
The tucked-up sempstress walks with hasty strides,
While seams run down her oiled umbrella’s sides.
Here various kinds, by various fortunes led,
Commence acquaintance underneath a shed.
Triumphant Tories and desponding Whigs
Forget their feuds, and join to save their wigs.
Boxed in a chair the beau impatient sits,
While spouts run clattering o’er the roof by fits,
And ever and anon with frightful din
The leather sounds; he trembles from within.
So when Troy chairmen bore the wooden steed,
Pregnant with Greeks impatient to be freed
(Those bully Greeks, who, as the moderns do,
Instead of paying chairmen, run them through),
Laocoön struck the outside with his spear,
And each imprisoned hero quaked for fear.
         Now from all parts the swelling kennels flow,
And bear their trophies with them as they go:
Filth of all hues and odors seem to tell
What street they sailed from, by their sight and smell.
They, as each torrent drives with rapid force,
From Smithfield or St. Pulchre’s shape their course,
And in huge confluence joined at Snow Hill ridge,
Fall from the conduit prone to Holborn Bridge.
Sweepings from butchers’ stalls, dung, guts, and blood,
Drowned puppies, stinking sprats, all drenched in mud,
Dead cats, and turnip tops, come tumbling down the flood.

ACET Idiom of the Week!

This week’s idiom is To Take a Rain Check!

rain2Has someone ever extended an invitation to you to an event or to do something with them but you wanted to decline politely? Well this is when you could use the phrase “I’ll take a rain check”.

The phrase originated in America in the 1800s when ticketholders to baseball games that were cancelled because of the rain, were given a “rain check” which enabled them to come back at another time for another game without losing money.

So next time somebody asks you to do something that you don’t really want to do, you can politely tell them “You’ll take a rain check”!

Hat tip to for etymology of the phrase!

ACET Idiom of the Week!

This week’s idiom is It Never Rains But Pours!

Have a series of unfortunate things ever happened to you one after another? Does it feel like you are having terrible luck lately? If this is so then you could say that it never rains but pours!

The meaning of the expression is that when it rains, it rains very heavily (or pours!) and so people use it when they feel like several things are going wrong for them in succession.

So the next time you feel like you are having a spate of bad luck, you can say, “It never rains but pours!”


ACET Idiom of the Week!

This week’s idiom is Full of the Joys of Spring.

This idiom means to be cheerful and full of energy.

Full of the joys of springSpring time brings a lot of joy to people after the winter months.  Days start to get longer, flowers bloom, new life arrives in the animal world and the weather starts to get warmer. 

You can put this idiom in a sentence like the following:

  1. John came out of work, full of the joys of spring after receiving his promotion.
  2. Sam was full of the joys of spring after his wife gave birth to a baby girl.

Spring time is a great season for many of us. What is your favourite thing about the spring??