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倾盆大雨

Rain Cats and Dogs

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Like many other phrases contained in these pages, the origin of this phrase is unknown. Its first recorded use is by Jonathan Swift in Polite Conversation, written circa 1708 and published thirty years later. This work of Swift's is a satire on the use of cliché, so the phrase was probably in use for a considerable period before this.
Rawson reports an earlier variant, "rain dogs and polecats," from Richard Brome's The City Witt of 1652. Suggestions for its origin include:

· The archaic French catdoupe, meaning waterfall or cataract.

· The thunder and lightning are akin to the sound of a cat-and-dog fight.

· In northern mythology, cats had an influence on the weather, and Odin, the storm god, was attended to by dogs and wolves.

All of these are unlikely given the Brome cite. Since the earliest English language variation starts with "polecat" as opposed to "cat," the idea that it descends from catdoupe is unlikely. Similarly, since polecats are not cats, but rather weasels or skunks, the connotation with mythological properties of felines is similarly unlikely.

Yet another explanation is that in old London a hard rain would fill the streets with water and drown many stray dogs and cats. Thus when the rain stopped and the water was gone, it looked as if it had rained cats and dogs. It sounds plausible, but the early use of the phrase with polecats make it unlikely.
So, the mystery remains with no good explanations.


倾盆大雨


像许多出现在这些页中的其他短语一样,Rain Cats and Dogs(倾盆大雨)这一短语的出处也不得而知。有记载的用法首次出现在朱纳森·斯威夫特所著的《礼貌会话》一书中,该书大约写于1708年,三十年后才出版。斯威夫特的著作是讽刺一些陈词滥调的,因此,上述短语在斯威夫特写书相当长一段时间就已经在用了。 (来源:英语学习门户网站EnglishCN.com)

罗森指出,该短语有更早的一种变体,“Rain Dogs and Pole cats”,(“下狗和鸡貂”),来自理查德·伯罗米的《1652年城市妙语》。关于这一起源的意见包括:

·古体法语Catdoupe意为瀑布或大瀑布。

·雷电大作与猫狗打架的声音相似。

·北方神话中,猫对天气会产生影响,此外,暴风雨之神欧丁(Odin)是由狗和狼侍俸的。

伯罗米所引用的上面这些说法是不可能的,因为古代英语的变体中“Pole cat”与“Cat”是相对立的,说它是从Cat doupe 传下来也不可能。同样,由于Polecats(鸡貂)也并不是Cats(猫),而是类似黄鼠狼或臭鼬之类的动物。至于猫科动物具体神秘特征的涵义,同样也是不可能的。

还有另一种说法是在古老的伦敦,一场倾盆大雨后常常是汪洋一汽,淹死许多迷路的狗和猫,因此,雨停,水退后,满街死狗死猫,似乎天上落下了众多的狗和猫似的。这种说法听起了像是花言巧语,但早期这一词组用到Polecats,又使上述说法不太可能。
因此,关于这一短语的奥秘仍然没有什么满意的解释。

 
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