Posted by Gary Martin on January 26, 2000
In Reply to: Dry Run posted by ESC on January 25, 2000
: : What is the origin of this phrase? I've looked high and low on the net and can't find a thing. . . Any thoughts?
: "Dry run - The very first dry runs were creeks ('cricks' in many parts of the country) that had dried up in the summer's drought. As long ago as 1845 explorers of the Rocky Mountains wrote of following up a 'dry run' for a couple of miles until, over a ridge, it 'turned into a running branch.' Another kind of dry run was originally a theatrical expression and meant a rehearsal. In 1941, 'American Speech' magazine defined 'dry run' as 'practice, a dress rehearsal.' ." From the "Morris Dictionary of Words and Phrase Origins" by William and Mary Morris (HarperCollinsPublishers, New York, 1977).
In the theatrical usage of the phrase, why 'dry'?