Right as rain

What is the meaning of the phrase ‘Right as rain’?

Perfectly well and good.

What is the origin of the phrase ‘Right as rain’?

The phrase ‘Right as rain’ is believed to date at least as far back as the mid to late 1800s in the UK, when it appeared in multiple publications.. 

The phrase may have been intended to explain that something is as sure, certain and predictable as the UK weather, where, wherever you may be, light or heavy rain is the most predictable state of the weather. Or the weather will, at some point, return to rain.

Alternatively however, the phrase may have come about due to the association between rain and good fortune, since rain helps crops to grow, resulting in plenty of food, and therefore also a symbol of prosperity.

Interestingly, it is believed that prior to the phrase ‘Right as rain’ there were several popular variants that people liked to use, including ‘right as nails’, and ‘right as ninepence’. For instance, the word ‘right’ has been used as an adamant since mediaeval times, specifically the 1400s, and the phrases ‘’right as a gun’ and ‘right as my leg’ have been used since the 1600s.

It is speculated that the phrase ‘Right as rain’ outlasted the other variants because of its alliteration. The idiom also travelled to the United States.

Today the phrase is frequently used in everyday greetings and discussions, most frequently as an affirmative response to the question ‘How are you?’. In this instance, the phrase ‘Right as rain’ would refer to being in very good health.

The phrase is also used to say that everything is ‘in perfect order’ or ‘ready’, or ‘present and correct’.

What are some notable uses of the phrase ‘Right as rain’?

The phrase ‘Right as rain’ makes an appearance in several literary works, including the novel ‘Little Women’ by Louisa May Alcott, published in the 1860s, where the character Jo March says, “I’m right as rain,” following her recovery from illness.

Similarly, in the book ‘The Adventures of Tom Sawyer’ by Mark Twain, the character Tom concludes after one of his adventures that ‘Everything’s right as rain’.

More recently, the phrase ‘Right as rain’ has been used to name a potion in the PC game World of Warcraft.

Trend of right as rain in printed material over time

Cari Mayhew - Author at Phrase Finder

Cari Mayhew

Lifelong learner, phrase fanatic, and lover of literature across multiple genres. Cari Mayhew has a passion for expression, and a keen curiosity for how phrases begin and how their use transforms over time. She is often found looking for the ideal idiom to convey her thoughts and musings.