Fifty Words for Rain

It is rumored that the Eskimo had fifty words for snow—you know, a word for the big fat flakes, and for the little tiny ones that don’t amount to much, for the driving blizzards and the gentle, sound-muffling windless storms.  I have not independently verified this, but I’d like to believe it’s true.

I love snow more than almost anything, and have spent a lot of time considering its character.  Something I don’t always love, however, is snow’s warmer sibling, rain.  I mean, I do, but it gets old pretty fast.

If you happen to live in New England, I think you can agree it’s gotten old.  After a terrible drought last year, we’ve more than made up for the water deficit this spring.  As I write this, the sun is shining, but the rain will be back tomorrow.  So, in an effort to make this persistent grey, gloomy weather more exciting, I’ve come up with fifty words for rain (with select definitions).

Note: Okay, some of these aren’t words per se, but phrases, and that’s alright.  I’m following the precipitation labeling standards of Kate Bush as laid out in her hilarious ‘Fifty Words for Snow,’ which is well worth a listen.

  1. Acid
  2. Amphibious – You know, frogs falling from the sky. Duh.
  3. Angelpiss
  4. Ant Crusher – Those really big, fat drops right at the beginning of a storm that could really do a number on an unsuspecting insect.
  5. Antigravipluie – When the wind is whipping so hard it starts to rain upward.
  6. Aquacussion – The musical variety that delights residents of homes with tin roofs.
  7. Bad for Bikes
  8. Blue Christmas – When you were hoping for a white one but, you know, climate change (or you live in the southern hemisphere or someplace warm, like Florida).

    ‘Weeping Pine’ by Brian Stricker

  9. Campercramper – The type that’ll keep you cooped up in your smelly tent all day instead of hiking or roasting marshmallows.
  10. Catsanddogs
  11. Ceilingseeper – You should’ve patched the roof.
  12. Crisp Afternoon – A distinctly autumnal variety, soft and light that makes life worth living!
  13. Commiserain – When mother nature matches your mood.
  14. Demoralizer – When mother nature squashes your mood.
  15. Devilsweat
  16. Dewdrizzler
  17. Dragon’s Sneeze – The warm, sort of icky, misty type that comes on a fast breeze and then is done.
  18. Driving
  19. Droughtquencher
  20. Dustdamper
  21. Farmer’s Joy – Yay! It’s raining! The crops won’t die!
  22. Farmer’s Lament – I’ve got mud up to here!
  23. Fingerchiller – Bone chilling, even indoors.
  24. Freezing
  25. Guerrilla in the Mist – When you think it’s just kind of misty/foggy, then BAM! Drenched.
  26. Hydroplaner
  27. It’s Been Two F-ing Weeks Already!
  28. Just Snow Goddammit! – When it’s 34° and raining in January.
  29. Leafbomber – When the leaves gather it all up and drop buckets on your head as you walk underneath.

    ‘Droplet’ by Brian Stricker

  30. Levybreaker
  31. Lifebringer
  32. Men (Hallelujah)
  33. Mistifier
  34. Mosquitobreeder – See, ‘It’s Been Two F-ing Weeks Already!’
  35. Mudbatter
  36. Parade Killer
  37. Pianissimoist – The really quiet, all-day type.
  38. Preciparomatizer – The quick shower that leaves everything smelly fresh and ozone-ey.
  39. Repriever – Finally something to break the heat!
  40. Sad Goddess
  41. Sandwichsogger – The foil to any picnic in the park.
  42. Saunamaker – Well, I thought that was going to break the heat.  Now things are just worse.
  43. Sideswiper – The variety that blows horizontally so that walking down the street, one half of your body may remain dry while the other half is drenched.
  44. Sneakersoaker
  45. Streetsweeper
  46. Sunshower
  47. Thor’s angry tears
  48. Umbrellinverter – Don’t you hate when your umbrella pops inside out?
  49. Wormwrangler – The deep-soaking type the brings all the earthworms out for some air.
  50. Rain

Fortunately or unfortunately, there is quite a bit more rain to come this season, and now I’ve got a handy guide for labeling the distinct varieties.  Precipitation need never be mundane again!

How about your thoughts?  Do you love the rain or hate it? What’s your favorite type? Would you like to add to my fifty words for rain?  Give me a word/phrase and a definition in the comments below.

Thanks as always for reading!


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Jacob - June 8, 2017

These are brilliant! I think ‘sad goddess’ is my favourite, closely followed by ‘angelpiss’. Inspired. Oh, but ‘sunshower’ is quite romantic… too many to choose!

I do enjoy the rain, especially when it brings a thunderstorm with it (and I’m indoors). That’s quite a distinct, rapid brand of angelpiss. We don’t get very many of those here in Norfolk, so it’s quite exciting for me!

    Gregory Josephs - June 8, 2017

    Thank you! I am quite fond of ‘angelpiss’ myself!

    My attitude toward rain certainly changes dependent on whether I am out in it or not. I also love a good thunderstorm, and would welcome a few more of those this spring. Unfortunately it’s been more of a ‘It’s Been Two F-Ing Weeks Already’ kind of season. 😔

    Thanks for the lovely comment, and I’ll be wishing some thunder your way!

      Jacob - June 8, 2017

      It’s a beaut. We’ll have to start spreading it!

      You’re welcome, and likewise; here’s hoping we both get a rumble or two!

A.S. Akkalon - June 8, 2017

I love rain, especially the huge fat drops when it’s warm and not too windy. We get a lot of antigravipluie here.

I don’t know the word for it, but I think you missed the type of rain that thunders down, and then you get all dressed up in gumboots and a waterproof jacket to go outside and enjoy it, but just as you get to the front door the rain calms down to a faint mist. It’s the worst tease!

    Gregory Josephs - June 8, 2017

    I might call that Dreamcrusher, Thundecisive or ‘Should’ve Gotten Dressed Faster!’ 😉

Aimer Boyz - June 8, 2017

The only thing rain has over snow is that you don’t have to shovel it !
Great selection of words. “Pianissimoist” wonderful !
And, of course, Raining Men. If only it were that easy 🙂

    Gregory Josephs - June 8, 2017

    Haha! I’ll take shoveling any day! There’s just something about snow. . . But that’s the subject of a future post I guess. 😉

    Thanks for liking Pianissimoist. I wasn’t sure it would work.

pjlazos - June 12, 2017

These are terrific!

    Gregory Josephs - June 12, 2017

    Thank you! Ironically it hasn’t rained since I wrote this; I’ve been waiting patiently to use them!

Flash | jaywalks - July 7, 2017

[…] the evening we were bombarded with not only heavy rain (or rather angelpiss – hat tip to Gregory!) but frequent flashes of lightning and rumbles of godlike fury. I’ve always been told that a […]

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