I am looking for a dramatic equivalent for "drizzle". I want to write down a sentence like this:

There was a light breeze blowing. Timid clouds gathered around and then it started to...

P.S: Is "timid cloud" correct?

  • 1
    Most writers I know don't work without a thesaurus close to hand. – Cascabel Mar 30 at 17:25
  • Yes but a thesaurus would usually give you one word. I am looking for a dramatic idiom. For example, for heavy rain, I learned that you can say "rain fell down in torrents". I am looking for something similar about light rain. – alpacinoutd Mar 30 at 17:36
  • Isn't light rain the opposite of dramatic? – Michael Harvey Mar 30 at 17:42
  • Why not just say '....started to rain lightly'? – Decapitated Soul Mar 30 at 17:44
  • Maybe I didn't choose the right word. I meant a dramatic or slightly poetic way of talking about light rain. – alpacinoutd Mar 30 at 17:44

According to this source the rather graphic words "spit" and "moisten" are possibilities along the standard "drizzle".

Here is an instance of use of "started to spit".

From this other source you can select more terms that connote the idea in just as graphic a fashion.

  • sprinkling, spraying, spritzing, peppering, dusting

  • mizzling, (intransitive, now regional, Britain, Canada, US) To rain in very fine drops.

There was a light breeze blowing. Timid clouds gathered around and then it started [to sprinkle/sprinkling]. (to sprinkle)


I thought I could make up for my oversight after I read your comment. I am not a native speaker but it seems to me that in the domain of fiction and even more in that of poetry, no less in English than in other languages, you are allowed a lot of freedom in the way of creating images. This is obviously an image in which different people might see different things and I do not pretend I see what is most to be remarked in it. However I suppose you mean something like "clouds invading the sky in a slow, uncertain way" and that sounds perfect to me, poetic, but a poetic tone occasionally is not forbidden in fiction.

| improve this answer | |

Perhaps sprinkle could work for you?

From Lexico:

  1. ("it sprinkles", "it is sprinkling", etc.) North American [no object] Rain very lightly.

    ‘it began to sprinkle’

In your example, it would be:

There was a light breeze blowing. Timid clouds gathered around and then it started to sprinkle.

| improve this answer | |
  • Excuse me, but could you please tell me if you are a native speaker? How does "timid clouds" sound to your ear? Does it work? – alpacinoutd Mar 30 at 19:33
  • 1
    Timid clouds sounds nice. – Michael Harvey Mar 30 at 20:22
  • 1
    I am a native speaker (west coast, US) and, yes, "timid clouds" sounds fine, all though, to my ear, they wouldn't produce a whole lot of rain. Maybe "Timid clouds gathered around and sprinkled a few drops of rain"? You could even say they "tentatively sprinkled" which would mean they weren't commited to raining, but were sort of testing it out to see if anyone complained. – Roger Sinasohn Mar 30 at 21:35

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.