The French phrase "Il pleut des cordes"

Get ready to find out everything you want to know about the basic idiom “Il pleut des cordes”.

More precisely, this includes a detailed definition of what it is and how to use it in a dialogue with an audio example. And because we want to help you on your learning journey, we also sprinkled some useful informations like slow pronunciation audio, dialogue example, synonyms and more!

In case you are interested, on this page you will find more of these idioms pages plus the ultimate list of all our French words guides on this page. Wishing you a good learning!

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French to English

How to pronounce?

Slow pronunciation

Normal pronunciation

What does it mean?


This expression means “It’s raining a lot / heavily” and literally means: “It’s raining ropes.

Why “ropes“? Because of the visual effect of drops of water falling very close to each other, looking like ropes falling from the sky.

How to use

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

But be careful, the last isn’t appropriate for formal contexts, typically at work.

Synonyms and similarities

  • Il pleut comme vache qui pisse → It’s raining like a peeing cow
  • Il pleut des seaux (d’eau) → It’s raining buckets (of water)
  • Il pleut des hallebardes → It’s raining halberds

Example in a story with French audio

Now, let’s see a complete example of this expression in a story with slow French audio and the English translation below.
Une journée à ne rien faire
A day of doing nothing
C’est dimanche, Emily et Philippe prennent le petit déjeuner…
It’s Sunday, Emily and Philippe are having breakfast…
Ils discutent de ce qu’ils vont faire aujourd’hui.
They are discussing what they will do today.
Emily:   Pourquoi pas aller à l’exposition de sculptures que tu voulais visiter ?
Why not going to the sculpture exhibition that you wanted to visit?
Philippe:   C’est dehors et
il pleut des cordesLiterally: It’s raining ropes
. Je ne pense pas que ce soit une bonne idée.
It’s outside and it’s raining a lot. I don’t think it’s a good idea.
Emily:   C’est vrai…
That’s true…
Ils continuent de réfléchir…
They keep thinking…
Et finalement, ils décident de passer la journée… à ne rien faire de spécial.
Finally, they decide to spend the day… doing nothing special.
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