The devil is beating his wife: Meaning, synonyms & origin + 9 examples

What does “The devil is beating his wife” mean?

“The devil is beating his wife” means that it is raining within the presence of sun, or it is used to point when it’s raining outside but the sun is shining. The idiom connotes the rain and sunshine at the same time. The meaning of the idiom is an old belief that is (a sunshower is traditionally believed to be when “the devil is beating his wife”).

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9 examples of how to use “The devil is beating his wife” in a sentence

  • How the devil is beating his wife is not my question, I want to know the science behind it!
  • The devil is beating his wife is an old belief, and according to me it doesn’t make a sense to believe it.
  • Look outside; the devil is beating his wife!
  • Suddenly everybody laughed when the teacher started to teach about the idiom “the devil is beating his wife”
  • You must not take the idiom “the devil is beating his wife” too serious because there doesn’t seems any logic behind it.
  • But why it rains if the devil beats his wife?
  • “The devil is beating his wife’ is an idiom used to point the moment of rain and sunshine at the same time.
  • I am quite skeptic about the logic behind the idiom “the devil is beating his wife”.
  • How many of you are in favor of the logic behind the idiom ‘the devil is beating his wife”?

The origin of “The devil is beating his wife”

The origin of the idiom has its roots linked with folktales, and a lot of cultures also regard this idiom as an emerged part from folktales and according to them it is a belief that “clever animals or tricksters were being related or getting married to the devil”. If we refer to Southern United States and Hungary; when they get a sun shower, they say “the devil is beating his wife with a walking stick;” while the French say “the devil is beating his wife and marrying his daughter.”

The devil spitting hellfire (sun rays) and his wife’s tears can be explained as the example of the idiomatic expression (the rain). The phrase “to go and thrash him round the church-yard, as the devil does his wife in rainy weather when the sun shines” was first mentioned in a French play in 1703. Years later, in 1738, a writer named Jonathan Swift used it: “the devil was beating his wife behind the door with a shoulder of mutton.”

Another version was published in Inwards’ Weather Lore in 1893: “if it rains while the sun is shining the devil is beating his grandmother.”

Synonyms for “The devil is beating his wife”

Rain, devil, sunshower, deluge, flood, hail, mist, rainfall, drizzle, cloudburst, shower, rainstorm, downpour.

Idioms related to “The devil is beating his wife”

  • Come rain or shine
  • Rain or shine
  • Rain-off