Arnold Zwicky zwicky at STANFORD.EDU
Sat Jul 4 11:46:43 UTC 2009

On Jul 3, 2009, at 7:47 PM, Wilson Gray wrote:

> From a discussion of homeless children being allowed to wander:about
> in abandoned buildings:
> "... the only building in the city that allows _free rein_ to
> homeless kids ..."
> I'm *really* uncertain about this one. It seems to me that this
> sorta-kinda-maybe calls for "... allows free _range_," since the kids
> are *wandering about* within the building, but, WTF, I wouldn't bet
> money on it.

"free rein" is the original idiom, but (as Chris Waigl said on the

   As horses and carriages have become rare as a means of transport,
the metaphor controling or restricting their movement with the help of
reins has lost its transparency.

so "rein" has been replaced by items that make more sense to people,
in particular "reign" and "range", the latter also in the ecdb:

searching the ecdm for "rein" will get you both of these entries.


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