Word for Wednesday: Shower

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Although it may be June, here in England it doesn’t feel like summer. With flood and thunderstorm warnings, and disruption on our roads and railways, this rain is more of a downpour than a shower

Still, it got us thinking about the word shower itself. While most of us probably associate showers with bathing before we do with rain, the word didn’t take on this meaning until 1859 (when it was first used as an abbreviation for shower-bath – a word attested from 1803). Shower comes from the Old English ‘scur’ meaning ‘a short fall of rain, storm, tempest; fall of missiles or blows; struggle, commotion; breeze’.

It has been used metaphorically to refer blood and tears since the fifteenth century and meteors since the nineteenth century. Shower has also been used as a verb to describe the act of bestowing a new bride with gifts since 1904 and to describe the event at which this happens (i.e. a bridal shower’) since 1926. 

12 Jun 2019
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