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This question on English.StackExchange made me wonder about words for rain in Spanish. In English, a light rain can be a drizzle, sprinkle, or mist and a heavy rain can be a deluge, downpour, or pouring rain.

What similar words in Spanish are used to describe different types of rainfall?

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Garúa: un americanismo sorprendentemente extendido – Dr. belisarius Nov 30 '11 at 2:22
And here the lyrics of the awesome tango "garúa" – Dr. belisarius Nov 30 '11 at 2:25
I've never heard garúa in Spanish, but it is certainly used in Basque. – MikMik Dec 29 '11 at 9:56
up vote 11 down vote accepted

Click the nouns to view the definition on the RAE:

  • Llovizna: the correspondent for "drizzle", a "weak" rain;
  • Aguacero: abundant, sudden rain, that lasts for a short time;
  • Chubasco: like "downpour", same as aguacero and chaparrón;
  • Chaparrón: "tough" rain that lasts for a short time;
  • Diluvio: Very strong rain, or "flood";

See this page on for more weather-related terms.

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diluvio literally means deluge. – vartec Dec 2 '11 at 9:49
Two words for llovizna: calabobos (literally, fool-drencher, because it looks like it's raining just a little bit, but you end up completely wet) and sirimiri (used in the Basque Country) – MikMik Dec 29 '11 at 9:48
@MikMik Thank you for your contribution! :) – Alenanno Dec 29 '11 at 11:26
I had forgotten jarrear for "to rain heavily". Also, "caer chuzos" or "caer chuzos de punta". – MikMik Dec 29 '11 at 12:07

Two colloquial phrases from Costa Rica I recently learned from spanishpod101 are related to this:

Son pelitos de gato nada mas

Translates to: "It's just little cat hairs". Meaning it's only light rain/drizzle

San Pedro esta corriendo los muebles

Translates to "St Peter is moving the furniture around". Meaning there is a big storm.

Here is the link to the podcast:

Please note: I am not specifically intending to promote this website. If anyone feels it is not appropriate to link to sites like this, please let me know.

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For light rain 'chispeando' (from 'chispa' = spark) can be used, altho I think it's probably more slang than an actual word.

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chispear is in the dictionary and it doesn't say it's colloquial or anything – MikMik Dec 29 '11 at 9:51

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