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Coming down like the bars of hell

Posted by Baceseras on July 25, 2007

Rain "coming down like the bars of hell" --- in the recent discussion of this comparison, absent was any mention of why bars would be "coming down". The image is of a portcullis, handily defined by the OED:

"A strong barrier in the form of a grating of wooden or iron bars, usually suspended by chains above the gateway of a fortress, a fortified town, etc., and able to secure the entrance quickly by being released to slide down vertical grooves in the sides of the gateway."

We may understand that the rain in the comparison is falling suddenly, swiftly, and with implacable force.