The French expression "Il pleut comme vache qui pisse"

You are going to learn all the things you need to know about the funny French idiom “Il pleut comme vache qui pisse”.

Are included a complete guide of what it mean and how you can use it in everyday life with an audio example. Not to mention the cool informations we added like synonyms, dialogue example, slow pronunciation audio and more!

Oh and in case you are interested, you will find our others idioms guides on this page plus the ultimate list of all our French words content on this page. Wishing you a happy learning!

Table of Contents

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Translation in English

How to pronounce it?

Slow pronunciation

Normal pronunciation

What does it mean?


It literally means:

  • Il pleut → It’s raining
  • comme → like
  • vache qui pisse → peeing cow

This expression dates from the second half of the 19th century. This is an image to say that it rains a lot since, indeed, when a cow urinates it drops a rather impressive quantity of liquid in the grass compared to a human.

But why a cow? There are bigger animals, no? Well, the choice seems to be based on the biggest animal a French peasant would see in everyday life back in time. Too bad they didn’t have elephants.

How to use it

Instead of saying “Il pleut beaucoup” (It’s raining a lot) or using the expression “Il pleut des cordes” (It’s raining ropes) you can use “Il pleut comme vache qui pisse” to make it funnier.

But beware, this is familiar and isn’t appropriate for formal contexts, typically at work.

Fun fact

Associating animals with heavy rain seems to be a common theme in English too, there is a saying: “It’s raining cats and dogs” when it’s raining heavily.

Synonyms and similarities

  • Il pleut des cordes → It’s raining ropes
  • Il pleut des seaux (d’eau) → It’s raining buckets (of water)
  • Il pleut des hallebardes → It’s raining halberds

Everyday life dialogue example

Audio dialogue from French people

Dialogue audio

Dialogue script

Bordel ! Il pleut comme vache qui pisse ! “
” Dammit, it’s raining like a peeing cow!* “
” Oh non, ça fait chier ! “
” Oh no, crap! “
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