How many words do the Irish have for “Rain”?

The Irish have plenty of rain and plenty of words to describe it. I was chatting with my parents back in the States today and they asked if it was raining and what kind of rain was it today. I said it was more rain than soft but not as hard or windy as lashing. It made me realize I needed to brush up on my weather vocabulary, so here’s the rain portion of my Irish Slang Dictionary which is a more extensive listing of my original blog post Understanding Irish Phrases.

Torrential Rain = Unrelenting. Falling rapidly and with force, in copious quantities.
Lashing Rain = Diagonal hard rain
 (think hurricane weather)
Sheets of Rain = Seems like walls of rain coming down.
Heavens Opened = Sudden onset of strong solid flow of rain.
Bucketing Rain = Out in this rain you feel like you’re instantly soaked.
Pissing Rain = Vertical hard rain
 (not as much wind as Lashing Rain)
Wet Rain = Not necessarily a heavy rain, but one that dampens you and soaks your clothes
Trying to Rain = The clouds have some in them but it’s not quite coming down with consistency.
Sun Shower = Raining while sunny out. Perfect rainbow weather!
Soft day = Cloudy weather with soft mist or drizzle
 (typical Irish weather)
Grand Soft Day = A humid day with a fine, light drizzle.
Dry Rain =
 Mist that doesn’t get you wet even though it’s technically raining 


Thank you to John and Sarah for their contributions to this list.


Looking4BlueSky has a great list as well but Slaibh has a fabulous hand-drawn chart!


3 thoughts on “How many words do the Irish have for “Rain”?

  1. Has anybody heard of this sentence..’ it will rain itself out’ meaning that it will rain so much that by a certain time there won’t be any rain left and it will stop raining then

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