“It’s raining cats and dogs”?

Dear Tom,
We have all heard the saying, “It’s raining cats and dogs.” What is the historical derivation of that saying?
Sylvia Lentern,  East Lansing
Dear Sylvia,
Several explanations for that saying exist, but here is a plausible one: In mythological tales once prevalent across northern Europe, cats and dogs were believed to be associated with the weather. It was commonly thought they were even able to cause or influence it. English sailors attributed gales and violent rainstorms to cats. And in many areas of northern Europe, the dog was a symbol of the wind. The wind in often pictured in old German drawings as originating with the breath of a dog.
The mythology thus brought together the separate concepts of rain, winds, gales, cats and dogs — and it all came to be incorporated into a single compelling and enduring expression, “It’s raining cats and dogs.”

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