Rain, reign and rein

  • Rain is a condensation of moisture that drops to earth. Rain may be used as a noun or a verb, the verb forms are rain, rains, rained, raining. The adjective forms are rainy, rainier and rainiest. A derivitive is raininess. Rain may also be used to describe something that pours down in a fashion akin to rain. Rain comes from the Old English regn.


    Rein refers to the part of a horse bridle that is a long strip of leather attached to the bit which is in the mouth of the horse. There are two of these strips, the reins are held by the rider and used to control the horse. Rein may also be used as a verb meaning to guide or control, the verb forms are rein, reins, reined, reining. Rein comes from the Old Frech rene, meaning retain.


    Reign refers to royal power, the period of rule, to rule as a sovereign. Reign may be used as a noun or a verb, the verb forms are reign, reigns, reigned, reigning. Reign comes from the Old French reignier, meaning to reign.


    West Coast weather was turned upside down this weekend when Southern California saw more rain in one day than it saw in all of January — one of the region’s wettest months on average. (The Washington Post)

    Jenner even rained money on Candis Cayne during the actress’ “I Am A Woman” performance. (International Business Times)

    Speaker to appoint conduct panel to rein in noisy MLAs (The Times of India)

    Bill that would rein in asset seizures by police advances in the Assembly (The Los Angeles Times)

    In the end, Courtney Hinton won that right and will reign over the week’s judging and preside at other events. (The Herald Bulletin)

    Man’s reign of terror came to predictable climax, Kendall neighbors say (The Miami Herald)



    1. I think thee have a typo in the Title! “rein” is missing.

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    3. John Morrow says

      Some years ago, I came across an article somewhere about how we hear a phrase is, to many persons, how they interpret it, not how it’s printed. The chief examples were:
      “Reign of Terror”
      “Rain of Terror”
      “Rein[s] of Terror”
      …all of which those surveyed associated with the French Revolution. And all of which make sense and are “right” if one does not know which one is THE accepted phrase.

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