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Southern Dictionary: The Devil’s Beating His Wife June 26, 2008

Posted by smooregasbord in General.

A few days ago we had a series of thunderstorms roll through the area. When I got home from work that same afternoon, it was pouring rain and the sun was shining. I looked at one of our neighbors and said, “Well, it looks like the devil is beating his wife.” From the way she looked at me, I might as well have been standing there in a straight-jacket with a crack pipe hanging out of my mouth!

I am not sure of the true origin of the phrase; however, it is most frequently uttered in the South. I learned it from my parents who learned it from their parents and so on. The phrase is usually used to describe a sunshower. My mom always told me that the rain represented the tears of the devil’s wife. I’ve also seen it written that it alludes to the fact that sunshowers don’t happen all that often.



1. Julia - July 31, 2008

It’s funny that you describe your neighbors reaction to your comment, There is a sunshower happening right now and I said it out loud in my office. The young lady in the other office said omg! what does that mean. I told her my mom use to say it all the time when the sun came out while raining. Not sure why but I assumed when I was little that it was her tears.

2. smooregasbord - July 31, 2008

I always find regional phrases interesting…especially considering that most of them I don’t consider regional until someone looks at me like I’ve lost my marbles!

3. taylor brown - September 1, 2008

susan hun, folks look at me like i’m cross-eyed when i say the same thing. even some southerners. it must be an upstate thing.

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