Category Archive 'Metaphors'

02 Sep 2019

“It’s Raining…” Around the World

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From midget faded rattlesnake, at Ricochet:

In English, we say, “It’s raining cats and dogs.” Explanations for why we say this are numerous, and all fairly dubious. In other lands, other stuff falls from the sky during heavy storms. In Croatia, axes; in Bosnia, crowbars (I’m sensing a pattern here); in France and Sweden, nails. In several countries, heavy rain falls like pestle onto mortar. In English, it may also rain like pitchforks or darning needles. While idioms describing heavy rain as the piss from some great creature (a cow or a god) may not be surprising, a few idioms kick it up a notch (so to speak), describing the rain as falling dung.

And then there are the old ladies falling out of skies. Sometimes with sticks, sometimes without. Sometimes old ladies beaten with ugly sticks. The Flemish say, het regent oude wijven — it’s raining old women. The Afrikaners, more savagely, arm the old women with clubs: ou vrouens met knopkieries reën. Yes, good ol’ knobkerries — ugly sticks, indeed! Afrikaners and the Flemish speak variants of Dutch, so it’s not surprising they share cataracts of crones, armed or not. Why the Welsh also share them is more of a mystery, but yn’ Gymraeg, again we find old ladies raining with sticks: mae hi’n bwrw hen wragedd a ffyn. Traveling to Norway, we find the outpouring of old ladies beaten with the ugly sticks: det regner trollkjerringer — it’s raining she-trolls.

I think the above illustration would have been better with literal female trolls.

30 Jul 2016

Voting For Neither

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15 Nov 2013

Metaphor of the Day

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The Obamacare disaster has commentators this morning casting around for new metaphors. The Titanic, The Hindenburg, the Challenger… have all been used.

So far, Tom Maguire’s commenters are winning by hitting on the image juste for the always-histrionic, but now sooo futile Nancy Pelosi: Norma Desmond from “Sunset Boulevard” (1950).


Hat tip to Clarice Feldman.

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