Appalachia Appalachian Dialect

Frog Strangler – Gully Washer – Frog Drowner

Frog strangler

Brasstown has been having one frog strangler after another for the last week. If you didn’t know-that means Brasstown has been getting more than it’s share of heavy rain.

Gully washer


You know the kind that washes half your driveway down to your neighbors house or falls so fast and hard that your gutters simply can’t contain all the water so it overflows onto your porch forcing your crazy husband to hang over the banister and reach into the gutter to try and hurry it along.

Hail in brasstown


Along with the rain we’ve had several spells of hail-nothing too major just enough to get your attention-especially if you’re Wild Bill the dog.

Wild bill afraid of the storm


He hates storms and he always takes refuge on our porch instead of his own-who knows why. Before I knew it-Chatter grabbed a throw off the couch and covered Wild Bill up. He smells to high heaven and I imagine now the throw does too.

Heavy rain =

  • frog strangler
  • downpour
  • gully washer
  • raining cats and dogs
  • frog drowner
  • cloudburst
  • frog choker
  • the bottom fell out
  • log floater
  • dam buster
  • like pouring pee out of a boot

If you’ve got any rain sayings to add to the list-please leave a comment!


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  • Reply
    June 5, 2019 at 6:10 am

    Here in the foothills it a “rock roller”

  • Reply
    June 7, 2016 at 8:09 pm

    A Mississippi log roller!

  • Reply
    N Sky
    August 9, 2014 at 6:01 am

    What fun! Thanks for the smiles. Here in Virginia we were supposed to get a “frog strangler”, which I posted on my site. My know- it- all, ten year older, retired- before-me, English teacher sister corrected me. She said that ‘correctly” the phase is “TOAD strangler”. Naturally, I went to the web to see what other folks thought- and found you. – There’s one for the rockin’ chairs……

  • Reply
    Granny Sue
    June 3, 2014 at 10:53 pm

    Larry says gollywasher, which I think is pretty descriptive. I say it’s coming down in buckets, and my English mom would say that we were having a “bit of a blow.”
    Fun comments! I’m behind reading your blog, so busy with graduations and gardens these days.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    June 2, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    How about a stump floating lizard drowner, I heard this one day in Graham County during a deluge.

  • Reply
    Granny Norma
    May 30, 2014 at 11:58 pm

    My dad always said it’s rainin’ cats & dogs & little frogs. He swore that once while driving through Kansas, it poured down rain and frogs were falling from the sky. I imagined that a tornado had picked them up from a pond and dropped them with all that rain.
    The little girl who lived behind us long ago was terrified of rainstorms and would run home shouting “It’s a’blowin’ up a storm!”
    I’m afraid I’m not so colorful. Here “it’s pouring buckets.” And it has been. We’ve had an inch each day both yesterday and today. Apparently they didn’t get much at the Asheville Airport – strange. I was complaining that we weren’t getting nearly enough rain. The radishes and spinach bolted young and I had been hauling water from the pond to water plants as I set them out. Not complaining now!
    P.S. The right person won the corn beads. It sounds like she’ll do something creative with them.

  • Reply
    Pamela Danner
    May 30, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    Hello Tipper!
    I just saw that I am your winner. How exciting! Thank you so much.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    May 30, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    I hope the hail didn’t hurt your garden,
    that part played out before it got here.
    But just about every day around 5, you
    can set your watch cause a soaker is
    Daddy always told us when it hailed,
    it would put all the frog’s eyes out.

  • Reply
    Brian Blake
    May 30, 2014 at 11:33 am

    “Frog strangler!” Love it! Into my book it goes!

  • Reply
    May 30, 2014 at 11:32 am

    Like a cow peeing on a flat rock!!

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    May 30, 2014 at 11:30 am

    You’d think i wuz frum Alabama the way i spelt Alabama in my last comment…also that tree frog weren’t hindin’ she was’a hidin’…LOL
    I was actually thinkin’ ’bout Forrest Gump when I was a writin’ Alabamba…that was the best movie and character! Guess hits no wonder I married me a Alabamba boy!…Eventhough I’m a Vol fan!
    Thanks Tipper and congratulations to Pamela for winnin’ the Cherokee Indian Corn Bead seeds…
    PS…I wonder if some comments from Alabamba will surface after my comments…LOL

  • Reply
    May 30, 2014 at 10:59 am

    “Bucket broke” – – several new ones to me in your list, many familiar ones.
    In the same vein, have you heard of “thunder gully”? Our sometimes dry creek is running now thanks to several good soaking rains this spring. We are currently listed as only in a moderate drought but the forecasters are cautioning about becoming too cocky about that since summer could dry us out again. With that, getting a sudden summer deluge could turn our creek into a miniature of the “thunder gully’s” one finds in the desert southwest: Dry most of the year but sudden rains and massive runoff causes those canyon’s to “roar” as the wall of water stampedes through. You might also hear “thunder gulch”, “thunder canyon”, and “thunder creek” – just depends on the size and shape of the normally dry waterway.

  • Reply
    Mary Colee Long
    May 30, 2014 at 10:37 am

    raining cats and dogs

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    May 30, 2014 at 10:11 am

    Here’s another co-winky-dinky! Just yesterday I was commenting on my son’s facebook post about rain..I said, “We need a good toad strangler, gully-washer or fish floater…OR NOT…maybe just a nice steady rain, starting at dark, so one could sleep really good, with the winders open and listen to the tree frogs go “bonkers” tryin’ to find the one tree the female is hinding in…Then by morning maybe the sun won’t dry it up before it trickles down onto the roots of the plants…Soooo, the ‘maters’, ‘taters’ and cucurbits will grow…I’m just wishin’!
    I call a “fish floater” a rain so hard, that the fish can’t swimm, they have to surface and float til it stops the downpour!
    We always called a quick, hard rain also a “toad strangler”..(toads are mostly dry land critters and that much water would choke them to death!) I love my toads, just great “little buggers”, play on the word “boogers”, but great bug catchers, all the same!
    How about…
    Thunderburst or bust..
    Roy’s grannys term (Alabamba) was “Thunderbunder”…
    Better-half said he had never heard your’s and Deerhunter’s term “Gutter-flooder” until today!
    You can now add a new one…
    Thanks Tipper, loved this post…and glad you didn’t get hail too large…
    Ain’t that the sweetest, skeered little Wild Bill hiding in under the back of that rockin’ chair!
    Bless his little heart!

  • Reply
    Gina S
    May 30, 2014 at 10:09 am

    Rain has a quality to either soothe or excite the senses. I love brief summer storms that cool the air then give way to sunshine that brings steam rising up. Raining hard enough to beat the band is a phrase I recall hearing. I once knew a woman who would say another person was too dumb to pour pee out of a boot.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    May 30, 2014 at 10:01 am

    I’ve heard:
    It was like sky opened up.
    Coming down in sheets.
    Like somebody kicked the bucket over.
    Raining to beat the band.
    I ran into a heavy downpour on the way home yesterday but by the time I got home, it was only sprinkling. We haven’t had a good soaking rain here in about a month.

  • Reply
    May 30, 2014 at 9:56 am

    Many of the words are familar to me, but the frong ones are quite new and probably used in this area. We only had a few stray light showers here in Caldwell County, and I haven’t had to water my new plants as often. I’m thankful for that as regular rain is better for plants and my bell peppers. Your doggie is so cute; I could be happy around him.

  • Reply
    Bob Aufdemberge
    May 30, 2014 at 9:51 am

    “Toad strangler” is pretty common in our area, but “gully washer” was the one I heard most as a kid. Then there’s the one about a cow peeing on a flat rock…

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    May 30, 2014 at 9:35 am

    Tipper–We got one of those rains yesterday evening, and in our case it was much needed.
    Here are a few more:
    “It fell a flood.”
    “It rained hard enough to knock a hornet nest loose.”
    “It rained like a . . . cow . . . on a flat river rock.” (a bit racy, so I opted for the ellipses)
    “It rained like a house-broke dog kept inside too long and finally let outdoors to pee.”
    “It came dog drowner.”
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    May 30, 2014 at 8:29 am

    Toad Strangler, that’s what I’ve heard heavy rain called. We’ve had a little rain here but not toad stranglers you’ve had.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    May 30, 2014 at 8:23 am

    I have heard them all used to describe heavy rain. The old folks here in FL have been known to call this hurricane weather, rainy days one after another.

  • Reply
    Jerry in Arkansas
    May 30, 2014 at 7:58 am

    I’ve heard some say “young flood”.

  • Reply
    jane bolden
    May 30, 2014 at 7:46 am

    My mother in law used to say, “It come up a cloud.”

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