Right as rain

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, lớn use the old sense).

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The author here doesn"t seem khổng lồ know very clearly what its origin is. He is speculating it"s just a play on words.

Does anyone have any definitive answer or evidence?


I can see the allusion lớn rain coming down in straight lines, my mother used to lớn say " look at that rain it's coming down lượt thích stair rods" –user52352 Sep 19 "13 at 7:21
Your source World Wide Words makes the point that the phrase right as... has appeared in many forms over the years and that right as rain probably became the favoured variant because of its pleasing alliteration. It seems lượt thích a reasonable conclusion và all I can bởi here is add further tư vấn khổng lồ his theory from an earlier example.

This is from In the Midst of Alarms by Robert Barr, 1894:

"To whom are you engaged? As I understand your talk, it is to lớn Miss Bartlett. Am I right?"

"Right as rain, Renny."

Perhaps it was a phrase that was already in comtháng usage at this point but the triple alliteration here is striking.

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edited Jun 15 "đôi mươi at 7:40

answered Aug 6 "11 at 9:49

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The Godzone Dictionary: Of Favourite New Zeal& Words & Phrases (2006) says:

The expression right as something has been used in millionarthur.mobi since medieval times, using a string of comparatives, such as trivet or ninepence. Right as rain emerged in the 19th century và took precedence over all the other forms, possibly because of its pleasing alliteration, & also possibly because rain is perceived as good, and causes growth.

But a book Reviews of the 1955 Dictionary of Early millionarthur.mobi by Joseph T. Shipley in the June-July 1956 edition of The Crisis magazine says:


Few of us are aware that many commonly used words once had meanings, in many cases, quite the opposite as those now current. Right, in the phrase "as right as rain," originally meant straight in direction.

And The Wordsworth Dictionary of Idioms (1993) agrees. It says as right as rain is:

A pun on the original meaning of right = straight.

The Free Dictionary gives these meanings of right:


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11. Straight; uncurved; direct: a right line.

adv.2. In a straight line; directly: went right lớn school.

The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms (1997) says:

In good order or good health, satisfactory, as in He was very ill, but he"s right as rain now, or If she"d only worked on it another week everything would have been as right as rain. 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. Phelps wrote, "The expression "right as rain" must have sầu been invented by an millionarthur.mobiman." It was first recorded in 1894.


The OED"s first quotation is:

1891 G. Parker in Good Words May 330 ‘Right as rain,’ said the engineers.

It appears in an earlier dictionary, A dictionary of slang, jargon và cant embracing millionarthur.mobi, American, & Anglo-Indian slang, pidgin millionarthur.mobi, tinker"s jargon & other irregular phraseology (1890), by Albert Barrère:

Right as rain (popular), quite right, safe, comfortable.

There was six of us took the rattler atKing"s Cross by the first train in themorning, and we"d got three briefs and aold "un with the date sucked off— right asrain we was ! We got a kerridge all toourselves, nice and comfortable. — SportingTimes.

The earliest I found is in Hence these tears (1872) by J.B.L. Warren (read online):

" ... Is all quiet outside"? "Right as rain," replied Christopher, pushing his head beyond the door to listen.

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It was also used in the 1870s in Australia & New Zeal&. The earliest in the Australian Trove newspaper archive sầu is from The Gundatua Times (Friday 25 August 1876 p2 Article):

this thoroughly practical farmer tells us hehas a crop of oats ten or eleven inches high,looking as "right as rain," và he attributesthis result entirely khổng lồ the fact of steeping andmanuring the seed, thus getting a start of theweeds.

And from New Zealand"s Papers Past archive is the Akaroa Mail & Banks Peninsula Advertiser (28 January 1879, "The Sundowners Swag"):

I thought when the Bank business was played out that Knickers would be dead broke, but no, he is still lớn the fore, and "right as rain," for I heard hyên the other day stave off a long-suffering creditor by telling hyên ổn "that that confounded Afghan war was the cause of his remittance not coming by the last mail."