I grew up believing that there was actually something right about rain, especially as I grew up in farming country, where rain was rarely wrong. The allusion in this simile is unclear, but it originated in Britain, where rainy weather is a normal fact of life, and indeed W.L. The expression has had heavy work since the late 19th century, but an example from 1909 (in Max Beerbohm's 'Yet Again') has the virtue of offerin two cliches in one sentence: 'He looked. Phelps wrote, "The expression 'right as rain' must have been invented by an Englishman." There’s an even older example, from the Romance of the Rose of 1400: “right as an adamant”, where an adamant was a lodestone or magnet. They get drunk! World Wide Words tries to record at least a part of this shifting wordscape by featuring new words, word histories, words in the news, and the curiosities of native English speech. Q From Julane Marx, California: I have been deputized by a small group of your readers and admirers to ask you a question. Select your currency from the list and click Donate. SS. Today, 9 October, is the penultimate day of this year’s World Space Week, a UN event launched in 1999. It may have first appeared at the very end of the nineteenth century, but the first example I can find is from Max Beerbohm’s book Yet Again of 1909: “He looked, as himself would undoubtedly have said, ‘fit as a fiddle,’ or ‘right as rain.’ His cheeks were rosy, his eyes sparkling”. Copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–. What is the meaning and origin of the phrase, right as rain? Download our English Dictionary apps - available for both iOS and Android. From moonshoot to balconing: discover the latest words added to the Collins Dictionary. In Reply to: As right as rain posted by Steve E on June 06, 2005. : : : : Where does the saying "As right as Rain" come from and what does it mean. Other words sites having or relating to the very highest levels of security, 'Hepatomegaly' and 'hydronephrosis' are among the most frequently looked-up words in September. to remember giving you very precise instructions. Right as rain is a latecomer to this illustrious collection of curious similes. All the latest wordy news, linguistic insights, offers and competitions every month. Is it an aesthetically pleasing but essentially meaningless alliteration, or is rain really correct in some way? It may have first appeared at the very end of the nineteenth century, but the first example I can find is from Max Beerbohm’s book Yet Again of 1909: “He looked, as himself would undoubtedly have said, ‘fit as a fiddle,’ or ‘right as rain.’ A An interesting question. The English language is forever changing. There are some words that seem to be of perennial interest, so if you compare the list of words that were looked up most often in March with the words that were looked up most often in September, you will find a lot of words appearing on both lists. All rights reserved. : : Boy, does that explanation ever shatter an illusion! Right as rain is a latecomer to this illustrious collection of curious similes. 'fit as a fiddle', or 'right as rain'.'" Perhaps surprisingly, there have been expressions starting right as ... since medieval times, always in the sense of something being satisfactory, safe, secure or comfortable. You'll be as right as rain as soon as you are back in your own home with your baby. It could just as well be 'right as clouds' or any number of other things, but 'rain' it is, doubtless because of the allure of alliteration. Amaze your friends with your new-found knowledge! Lots of others have followed in the centuries since. It could just as well be 'right as clouds' or any number of other things, but 'rain' it is, doubtless because of the allure of alliteration. And best of all it's ad free, so sign up now and start using at home or in the classroom. A farmer never wants rain when he has just tedded the hay and is waiting for the hay to dry. Since then it has almost completely taken over from the others. But the alliteration was undoubtedly why it was created and has helped its survival. The expression has had heavy work since the late 19th century, but an example from 1909 (in Max Beerbohm's 'Yet Again') has the virtue of offerin two cliches in one sentence: 'He looked. Page created 16 Dec. 2000, Problems viewing this page? Or on any day of the haying season, since wet hay tends to ferment, and have you seen cows after eating fermented hay or silage? World Wide Words is copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–. The online version of the Collins Dictionary has just been updated again, with another batch of new words and meanings inspired by the events of the summer. 'fit as a fiddle', or 'right as rain'.'" Create an account and sign in to access this FREE content. Space Week falls at this calendar juncture because this first October week is bookended by two key dates. New words appear; old ones fall out of use or alter their meanings. Right as my leg is also from the seventeenth century — it’s in Sir Thomas Urquhart’s translation of Gargantua and Pantagruel, by Rabelais, published in 1664: “Some were young, quaint, clever, neat, pretty, juicy, tight, brisk, buxom, proper, kind-hearted, and as right as my leg, to any man’s thinking”. 'fit as a fiddle', or 'right as rain'.'" SS. [ informal ] You'll be as right as rain as soon as you are back in your own home with your baby. As right as ninepence has had a good run, too, but that has vanished even in Britain since we decimalised the coinage and since ninepence stopped being worth very much. The expression has had neavy work since the late 19th century, but an example from 1909 (in Max Beerbohm's 'Yet Again') has the virtue of offerin two cliches in one sentence: 'He looked. I just HATE disagreeing with someone who agrees with me, but "never" is too strong here. It was first recorded in 1894. You can get a certain insight into human nature from analysing the words that people look up in dictionaries. All rights reserved.This page URL: http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-rig1.htmLast modified: 16 December 2000. Cookies and privacy If you say that someone is as right as rain, you mean that they are completely well or healthy again, for example when they have recovered from an illness or a shock. Learn more. Thank you for mentioning admirers. : : : Search the Discussion Forum under "rain" for more information. Our new online dictionaries for schools provide a safe and appropriate environment for children. I grew up understanding the expression to be from a farmer's perspective because they depend on the rain for a good crop therefore rain was always right and could never be wrong. : I agree with SS. Donate via PayPal. It could just as well be 'right as clouds' or any number of other things, but 'rain' it is, doubtless because of the allure of alliteration. An early example, quoted as a proverb as long ago as 1546, is right as a line. There’s right as a gun, which appeared in one of John Fletcher’s plays, Prophetess, in 1622. There’s right as a trivet from the nineteenth century, a trivet being a stand for a pot or kettle placed over an open fire; this may be found in Charles Dickens’s Pickwick Papers of 1837: “ ‘I hope you are well, sir.’ ‘Right as a trivet, sir,’ replied Bob Sawyer.” About the same time, or a little later, people were saying that things were as right as ninepence, as right as a book, as right as nails, or as right as the bank. Affixes dictionary. I’m more doubtful about the deputising: presumably the next stage would have been to get up a posse. We have almost 200 lists of words from topics as varied as types of butterflies, jackets, currencies, vegetables and knots! It makes no more sense than the variants it has usurped and is clearly just a play on words (though perhaps there’s a lurking idea that rain often comes straight down, in a right line, to use the old sense). See also: rain, right The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. be (as) right as rain definition: 1. to feel healthy or well again: 2. to feel healthy or well again: . In that, right might have had a literal sense of straightness, something desirable in a line, but it also clearly has a figurative sense of being correct or acceptable. From "The Dictionary of Cliches" by James Rogers (Ballantine Books, New York, 1985). : : : RIGHT AS RAIN - "Definitely correct; just the way it should be.