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As right as rain

  • The phrase as right as rain is an idiom. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the etymology or origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. An idiom is a metaphorical figure of speech, and it is understood that it is not a use of literal language. Figures of speech have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom or other parts of speech is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions such as in a blue moon, spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, chin up, on the ball, barking up the wrong tree, kick the bucket, hit the nail on the head, under the weather, piece of cake, when pigs fly, and raining cats and dogs, as they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the phrasing of the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker. We will examine the meaning of the idiom as right as rain, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.


     

    As right as rain describes someone in fine health, something in good working order, an idea that is correct, or a process that flows smoothly. As right as rain is also a simile, which is a phrase used in a sentence that is a comparison of one thing with something else using the word like or the word as.  The word right, in this case, means straight, a common medieval definition of the word right. Many idioms using this meaning of the word right preceded the idiom right as rain, including the idioms right as nails, right as a book, and right as my leg. The idiom right as rain was first used in the late 1800s and is still a popular expression, surely because of the pleasing alliteration.

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    Examples

    I’ll keep tracking this to see if the speculation is right as rain or if it will go flat. (The Post Bulletin)

    The bees look right as rain,” she says. (The Coast Mountain News)

    TUCK IN EARLY ON A FRIDAY, RELAX OVER THE WEEKEND AND MONDAY YOU ARE RIGHT AS RAIN (The Namibia Economist)

    He knew, we once wrote, that Mrs. Thatcher knew that the newspaper’s editorials on Hong Kong were as right as rain. (The New York Sun)

    Elvis Costello has said he is feeling “right as rain” and “extremely lucky” after his cancer operation. (The Irish Examiner)


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