Is This Rain? Or, a Drizzle? Or, a Thunderstorm?

The weather we have enjoyed in South Carolina for the past weeks deserves comment.


Have you heard that the Inuit (Eskimos) use 200 different words for snow?  The idea is that they see so much of it, and such differences in a major blizzard and a minor sprinkling of the white powdery fluff that they need a lot of words to describe those distinctions.  Snopes and other fact-checking sites on the web indicate that this claim is more rumor than fact. 



Since some parts of South Carolina can receive up to 80 inches of rainfall (Even our driest counties receive 32 inches of precipitation) each year, I wondered how many words we have for the wetness that comes from our Southern skies.  Here is my list.  What can you add to it?


  • Bespatter
  • Cascade
  • Cloudburst
  • Condensation
  • Cyclone
  • Deluge
  • Douse
  • Downpour
  • Drench
  • Dribble
  • Drip
  • Drizzle
  • Drown
  • Engulf
  • Flood
  • Frog Choker
  • Gale
  • Gully Washer
  • Gust
  • H2O
  • Hail
  • Hurricane
  • Ice
  • Immerse
  • Inundation
  • Mist
  • Moisture
  • Monsoon
  • Mushroom weather
  • Precipitation
  • Rain
  • Rinse
  • Saturate
  • Shower
  • Sleet
  • Sleet
  • Slush
  • Snow
  • Sodden
  • Spit
  • Splash
  • Splatter
  • Spray
  • Sprinkle
  • Steam
  • Storm
  • Stream
  • Swallow
  • Swamp
  • Tempest
  • Thunderstorm
  • Tidal wave
  • Torrent
  • Trickle
  • Vapor
  • Wash
  • Wet


Some of these stretch the ordinary use of the simple word, “rain,” but that is what writers do, thus, “We were swamped by the deluge that appeared from nowhere while we were walking.”


What are other words for rain?


Categories: Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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7 thoughts on “Is This Rain? Or, a Drizzle? Or, a Thunderstorm?

  1. Pam Gaddy

    Toad Floater!!!

  2. Irina Pevzner

    What a great language lesson! Once my English teacher mentioned a phrase “it’s raining Cats and Dogs!” I never heard anyone use it, but it stuck with me.

  3. Jim Catoe

    I’ve often wondered why the relatively benign term thundershower disappeared from the vocabulary of weather folks.

  4. Good question.

  5. Englishisms: pouring down, chucking it down, pishpotikle weather, bucketing down, raining pitchforks,
    tipping down, mizzling

  6. Never heard some of those, Mary. Pishpotikle weather? Wow. Thanks.

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