Rain On: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
December 16, 2023

The phrase "rain on" can be understood in different ways. At its most basic, it refers to water droplets falling from the sky onto a surface or area. Beyond this, "rain on" is also part of the idiom "rain on someone's parade," which means to spoil someone's fun or plans. In other words, if you're looking forward to something, and someone does something to ruin it, they've "rained on your parade."

In short:

  • It can mean water falling from the sky onto something.
  • It can also mean spoiling someone's fun when used as "rain on someone's parade."

What Does "Rain On" Mean?

"Rain on" is a phrase with both literal and figurative meanings. It describes rain falling on a particular object or area. Figuratively, when you say someone is "raining on your parade," it means they are spoiling your excitement or plans. The phrase suggests that someone else's actions or words have disrupted your happy moment.

Let's dive into its main meanings and how it's used:

  • "Rain on" means water droplets falling from the sky onto something or someone.
  • In the idiom "rain on someone's parade," rain on refers to spoiling someone's fun, joy, or plans.
  • When used in this idiom, it often relates to unexpected or unwanted actions that negatively affect one's mood or plans.
  • You can hear this phrase in everyday conversations, especially when someone feels their good times have been ruined.
  • Similar phrases include "spoiling the fun," "putting a damper on things," and "throwing a wet blanket."

Where Does "Rain On" Come From?

The word "rain" comes from Middle English "reinen," derived from Old English "regnian," with Proto-Germanic roots. "Rain on" literally refers to precipitation falling upon something. Its idiomatic usage to mean spoiling something is more modern and is most recognized in the context of "Don't rain on my parade." The earliest mention of the idiom "rain on my parade" is traced back to the mid-70s. Another source states that this idiom first appeared in the latter half of the 1900s and was popularized by the song "Don't Rain on My Parade" from the musical Funny Girl.

Historical Example

"Don't rain on my parade. And what, he wondered as he settled into a lacrosse story, had ever rained on Muppy's parade?

- A Summer's Worth of Shame: A Novel by Colby F. Rodowsky,

10 Examples of "Rain On" in Sentences

To help you understand how "rain on" is used, let's go through some examples from different situations:

  • The weather report said it's going to rain on Saturday, ruining our beach plans.
  • She didn't want to rain on his parade but felt she had to tell him the truth about his performance.
  • Why do you have to rain on my excitement every time I talk about my new job?
  • A lapse in judgment can seriously rain on your plans, causing you to rethink your strategy.
  • He always knows how to rain in a good mood by mentioning something sad.
  • She never lets anyone rain on her parade; she's always optimistic.
  • The storm is expected to rain on most of the East Coast tonight.
  • Taking chances in life is exciting, but be prepared for some setbacks that could rain on your parade.
  • It's expected to rain on the day of the outdoor concert.
  • You can consider it done, but keep in mind that unexpected bad weather could rain on our outdoor event, leading to delays.

Examples of "Rain On" in Pop Culture

The phrase "rain on" appears in pop culture, typically highlighting a moment where something good gets ruined.

Here are some examples:

  • "Rain on the Roof" (1962) is a short film by Bimal Roy that explores the complexities of a marriage. The phrase "rain on the roof" is used metaphorically to signify the emotional turbulence within the household.
  • "Rain on Me" by Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande is a pop anthem about overcoming adversity and finding strength in difficult times.
  • "It's About To Rain On You" by Fred Estell Sr. is a 2019 book about prophetic teachings.
  • The book "Rain on a Tin Roof: Love in the Mountains Novella Series" by Suzanne Cass is about a city girl named Lana who gets lost in the mountains.

Synonyms: Other/Different Ways to Say "Rain On"

Several other ways exist to express the idea of "raining on" something or someone.

Here's a list:

  • Spoil the fun
  • Ruin the moment
  • Wet blanket
  • Bring down
  • Kill the vibe
  • Crash the party
  • Burst the bubble
  • Dampen spirits
  • Put a damper on
  • Throw cold water on

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "Rain On":

  • What does "rain on" mean?

The phrase "rain on" can be understood in two ways. In a literal sense, it refers to precipitation falling on a specific place, object, or event, like "It's going to rain on the parade." In a figurative sense, it means to spoil or dampen someone's mood, plans, or enthusiasm, as in "Don't rain on my parade.

  • How can I use "rain on" in a sentence?

You can use "rain on" both literally and figuratively in sentences. For example, in a literal sense: "It will rain on the city tomorrow." In a figurative sense: "I hate to rain on your parade, but that idea won't work.

  • Is the phrase mostly used in negative contexts?

Yes, "rain on" often shows up in negative contexts, especially when used figuratively. It's commonly used to describe something that spoils or ruins an otherwise good situation or mood.

  • Can "rain on" be used humorously?

Yes, the phrase can be used in a humorous or sarcastic manner to lighten the mood, even though it generally refers to spoiling something. For example, "Well, don't rain on my parade, I thought it was a good joke!"

  • Does it always refer to ruining big events or occasions?

No, "rain on" can refer to spoiling both big and small events or moments. It could be something as minor as spoiling a good mood or as major as ruining a wedding day.

  • Is "rain on" a common phrase?

Yes, it's a common phrase, especially the idiomatic expression "rain on someone's parade." You'll hear it used frequently in everyday conversations and in the media.

  • Is it used globally, or is it specific to certain countries?

The phrase "rain on" and its idiomatic use is understood in many English-speaking countries, though the level of usage might vary.

  • What is the tone when using "rain on"?

The tone can vary depending on the context. When used literally, it's neutral. When used figuratively, the tone can often be negative, cautionary, or even humorous.

  • Is "rain on" often used in literature?

While not incredibly common in literature, the phrase does appear, especially in works that aim to capture everyday speech or convey irony or disappointment.

  • Are there similar phrases to "rain on"?

Yes, similar phrases include "spoil the fun," "burst the bubble," or "kill the vibe," among others. These expressions carry a similar meaning of putting a damper on things.

Final Thoughts About "Rain On"

Understanding the phrase "rain on" can offer insight into everyday conversations and human emotions' nuance. The phrase is a straightforward way to describe something spoiled or dampened, literally or figuratively.

Here's a quick recap:

  • "Rain on" can refer to actual weather conditions and spoiling someone's mood or plans.
  • It's often used in negative contexts but can also be used humorously to lighten the situation.
  • The phrase is pretty common, and you'll likely hear it in various settings, from casual conversations to TV shows and movies.

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