Raining cats and dogs 英国迎来又一轮雨天

Vocabulary: weather 詞匯:形容天氣的詞匯

Image caption Is it spitting, drizzling, or chucking it down?

Get into conversation with someone from Britain and they will invariably mention the weather.

It plays an important role in people's lives and determines their mood. But there is one climatic condition that is bound to make us complain – the rain.

Britain is currently splashing and squelching its way through probably the wettest June on record. Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised as the UK is used to the wet stuff, coming in all forms from light drizzle to a heavy downpour.

With so many outdoor events and festivals taking place this summer you would think all the British want is a long spell of warm sunshine. But London's Olympic opening ceremony next month will see fake clouds hovering over the stadium providing a dampening just in case the real stuff fails to rain on the parade.

But despite our familiarity with precipitation our vocabulary to describe it is limited. The Inuit people allegedly have 50 words to describe snow because they see so much of it, although Geoff Pullman, a linguist from Edinburgh University says "…the idea is neither empirically true nor practically necessary… as humans we experience lots of variety in everyday life but we don't try to bring it under linguistic observation."

Given that, the British could be forgiven for having just a handful of words. However colloquial English gives meteorological terms a bit more colour. A few drops of rain is described as spitting and one of the most descriptive phrases for heavy rain is it's raining stair-rods. There's also chucking it down and bucketing down which conjures up a picture of some heavenly creature emptying buckets of water from above, drenching the miserable folk below. But the weather you might want to most avoid is when it's raining cats and dogs– a rather cruel way of describing torrential rain.