Posted by ESC on March 07, 2000
In Reply to: Right as rain posted by Nina Waite on March 06, 2000
: Can someone help? There are "direct hit" links to some discussion
: of this phrase that are 404's now. Do you have
: an archive of the entire year of 1999? AltaVista has your
: thread ending on May 2, 1999 with a posting by Joel.
: BTW, your website is awesome!
: Thanks a lot,
: Nina Waite
: Library Media Teacher
: Los Altos High School
: Los Altos CA USA
I could only find (under Archive 2) the Jan. 4 post by Derek and
the Jan. 11 response by Joel.
Was there another "conversation"? Can anyone add to this?
Posted by Joel on January 11, 19100
In Reply to: "as right as rain" posted by Derek Elliott on January 04, 19100
: Any suggestions on the origins of this phrase.
Derek: It occurred to me that very many of our common phrases and sayings come from a time, not long ago, when the majority of people in the U.S. and Europe still lived in contact with nature. Only a couple of generations ago, most agriculture depended on rain, since irrigation was not so prevalent. The life of everyone in society (or in the nearby village or town or city) depended on the success of the local crops, which in turn depended on spring and summer rains. Rain was essential to survival. No crops equaled famine.
"Right as rain" just means needed, appropriate, essential, or hoped-for.
All I could find from my references is this bit of information from "Listening to America" by Stuart Berg Flexner (Simon and Schuster, New York, 1982), "The older English 'it's raining cats and dogs' was joined by our 'to rain pitchforks' in 1844, with the expression 'right as rain,' meaning perfect, well, absolutely right, appearing in 1894." It doesn't give any detail as to the origin of the phrase.