Dry run

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The term dry run is an American idiom with many theories as to its origin. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal meaning. We will examine the definition of dry run, some possible sources of origin and some examples of its use in sentences.

A dry run is a rehearsal, practicing a performance or procedure in anticipation of the real performance or procedure. There is much discussion as to the origin of this American idiom. Most believe that dry run was first used in the 1940s, referring to firearm training in the military. Before a gun is fired, the recruits practice handling the gun without firing a shot. In fact, when allowing the recruits to fire ammunition, it is called going wet. While this story is interesting, there are in fact early uses that are now cited referring to various things as a dry run such as laying bricks without mortar or piecing together carpentry without the glue or nails. The earliest use known so far of the term dry run refers to contests between firemen in the late 1890s, in which they responded as if there were a fire but without using water. The plural form of dry run is dry runs.


The second such dry run is aimed at ironing out the creases in the ambitious multimodal transportation project involving Iran, Russia and India, and comes in the backdrop of China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative, the Indian newspaper Mint reported on its website. (The Financial Tribune)

Whether Munster decide to give him a dry run against Connacht tomorrow remains to be seen, but the home Guinness PRO12 semi-final is inked into his calendar as the day he’ll prove to Warren Gatland and everyone else that he is fit. (The Belfast Telegraph)

Pyongyang had, in March, declared that a ballistic missile test had been a successful dry run for a strike on American bases in Japan. (The Straits Times)

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