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Idiom: Raining Frogs

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:?: Hi, I'm ROB, I'm an English tutor, I'm using movies/TV shows to teach my foreign students English. There's one idiom I can't seem to fully understand. We watched "Magnolia" and there's a scene in the movie where it actually rained frogs. My students and I discussed its probable symbolism.

But in the HBO TV show "Six Feet Under" one of the characters said "it's about to rain frogs here." She was referring to a family dinner, and her family is very dysfunctional.

Like Magnolia, Six Feet Under deals with dysfunctionality. I think the idiom "raining frogs" might mean "people are about to confess their sins, or some sort of recriminations, catharsis or that sort of thing." Is this an idiom or what?

Thanks for your help Guys. :D


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Sep 21, 2003
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Welcome, Rob. :hi:

Hope this article helps. Click on Source below to read more. :D

"In the following excerpt from an interview included with the official screenplay, Anderson explains his logic."

Q: Of all things, why frogs?

A: It truly came from a slightly gimmicky and exciting place. I'd read about rains of frogs in the works of Charles Fort, who was a turn of the century writer who wrote mainly about odd phenomena. (...) So I just started writing it in to the script. It wasn't until after I got through with the writing that I began to discover what it might mean, which is this: you get to a point in your life, and shit is happening, and everything's out of your control, and suddenly, a rain of frogs just makes sense. You're staring at a doctor who is telling you something is wrong, and while we know what it is, we have no way of fixing it [Earlier in the interview the subject of cancer came up]. And you just go: "So what you're telling me, basically, is that it's raining frogs from the sky." I'm not someone who's ever had a special fascination with UFO's or supernatural phenomena or anything but I guess I just found myself at a point in my life where I was going through some shitty stuff, and I was ready for some sort of weird religious experience, or as close as I could get to one. So then I began to decipher things about frogs and history things like this notion that as far back as the Romans, people have been able to judge the health of a society by the health of its frogs: the health of a frog, the vibe of a frog, the texture of the frog, its looks, how much wetness is on it, everything. The frogs are a barometer for who we are as a people. We're pollutting ourselves, we're killing ourselves, and the frogs are telling us so, because they're all getting sick and deformed. And I didn't even know it was in the bible until Henry Gibson gave me a copy of it, bookmarked to the appropriate frog passage.



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Nov 13, 2002
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Hi, Rob. :hi:
I think they are using the expression to suggest that something unusual is about to come down, like frogs in the rain. If they are a dysfunctional family, then their getting together will probably bring trouble, which is what the 'raining frogs' suggests to me. It's idiomatic, but it's creative rather than a standard idiom, IMO. However, I like it and think I shall start using it. To me it sounds as if something faecal is about to hit the fan. ;-)


Jul 11, 2005
I have read that the UK has more tornadoes than the USA. It is not uncommon for parts of the UK to have a water spout that picks up fish, frogs and other small animals and dump them where ever the storm pleases.
That is where the phrase raining 'cats and dogs' came from. It is not a far streach for this to happen with frogs. Also it is has biblical context.. the forcast of a disaster (one of the plages). Combine all that with the family dysfunction and you have the workings of a great artist...

(please excuse my spelling.. it is a little late here... very tired..)

P.S. The frog thing for global warming is a solid theory.. the frog will survive until almost boiling point then it dies. That is what some people believe is happening to us. We don't notice the changes until it is too late. (this last bit after reading the interview section a second time)
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