In English, there is an expression “April showers bring May flowers.” This means that it rains a lot in April, but this leads to a beautiful, colorful May. We say this expression when the weather is bad in April.

In this expression, the word “shower” means “rain.” But there are many uses of the word “shower” in English. “Shower” can be a verb, a noun with many different definitions, or part of many idioms and expressions. Lets take a look at the many uses of the word “shower.”

Shower as a verb

As a verb, “shower” means:

1. To wet (usually, to clean oneself)

  • You need to shower!
  • I showered my dog with the soapy water and then rinsed him.

2. To give in abundance

  • The guests showered the birthday girl with gifts. 
  • He showers her with beautiful jewelry and flowers all of the time. She is so spoiled!

3. To throw something so it falls like a shower

  • The guests showered the bride and groom with rice as the newlyweds exited the church. 
  • The hairdresser basically showered me in perfume and now I smell really strongly like flowers!


Shower as a noun

As a noun, “shower” means:

1. Rainfall (for a short period of time)

  • I think we will get some light showers tomorrow and through the weekend. 
  • We went for a walk and got caught in a shower!

2. Something resembling a rain shower (a meteor shower, a shower of statistics, a shower of data)

  • I am going to stay awake for the meteor shower tonight. I heard it will be magnificent!
  • The recent shower of data about fast food has made me change my eating habits.

3. A bath where the water showers over you

  • Do you usually take a bath or a shower?
  • Jim is taking a shower right now.

4. The place where you take a shower

  • Sorry I didn’t answer your phone call. I was in the shower. 
  • I have to clean the kitchen, the bathroom, and the shower before the guests come.

5. A party where friends give the guest of honor special gifts (bridal shower, baby shower)

  • She received many gifts at the baby shower. I don’t think she will have to shop for the baby when it comes!
  • My grandmother gave me a beautiful hand-made blanket at my bridal shower.



Idioms with shower

Send someone to the showers (American idiom)

To stop someone, especially someone on a sports team, from playing or working because they are behaving badly or their work is not good enough

  • After the goalie missed the ball three times, the coach sent him to the showers. 

Take a cold shower (humorous idiom)

When someone is thinking dirty or sexual thoughts, another person often tells him/her to “go take a cold shower.” It is a humorous way to tell them to “cool off.”

  • I almost had to take a cold shower after watching last night’s TV show. I can’t believe they can put that stuff on television!

Now that you know the meaning of the many definitions for “shower,” your next very important step is to understand this silly joke. “If April showers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring?”

The answer? Pilgrims!

In this case, “May flowers” actually means the “Mayflower,” which is the ship that the Pilgrims (the first North American settlers from Europe) sailed when they left England.


Photos by Whitney Currier.