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


February 11, 2012 by Evin

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!


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

  1. jemssnn01 says:

    That’s interesting, It rains a lot in Manila too but we don’t have many words to describe it, well not that I know of.

  2. Thanks for the mention and I think there’s more out there somewhere!

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