Antedatings of "right as rain"
hugovk at GMAIL.COM
Thu Sep 19 09:01:48 UTC 2013
"right as rain" (OED: 1891)
It appears in an earlier dictionary, A dictionary of slang, jargon & cant embracing English, American, and Anglo-Indian slang, pidgin English, tinker's jargon and other irregular phraseology (1890), by Albert Barrère and Charles Godfrey Leland:
Right as rain (popular), quite right, safe, comfortable.
There was six of us took the rattler at King's Cross by the first train in the morning, and we'd got three briefs and a old 'un with the date sucked off— right as rain we was ! We got a kerridge all to ourselves, nice and comfortable. — Sporting Times.
The earliest I found is in Hence these tears (1872) by J.B.L. Warren:
" ... Is all quiet outside"? "Right as rain," replied Christopher, pushing his head beyond the door to listen.
It was also used in the 1870s in Australia and New Zealand. The earliest in the Australian Trove newspaper archive is from The Gundagai Times (Friday 25 August 1876 p2 Article):
… this thoroughly practical farmer tells us he has a crop of oats ten or eleven inches high, looking as"right as rain," and he attributes this result entirely to the fact of steeping and manuring the seed, thus getting a start of the weeds.
And from New Zealand's Papers Past archive is the Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser (28 January 1879, "The Sundowners Swag"):
I thought when the Bank business was played out that Knickers would be dead broke, but no, he is still to the fore, and "right as rain," for I heard him the other day stave off a long-suffering creditor by telling him "that that confounded Afghan war was the cause of his remittance not coming by the last mail."
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