Right as rain
Right as rain follows a whole host of other ‘right as’ expressions, all of which signify degrees of well-being but are all equally baffling. For example, Charles Dickens in Pickwick Papers (1837) writes of someone being right as a trivet. In more recent times, people have been described as feeling right as a sixpence or right as nine pence but these allusions to various amounts of money seem to have fallen away. The OED also quotes ‘right as nails’ but gives no further explanation as to why one might feel right as ‘nails’. No one knows why or how ‘rain’ entered into the picture as a simile for well-being in the early 20th century. It is not as if rain in the British Isles is such an extraordinary event that it should prompt people to feel good about themselves. Other than the obvious alliteration, there is no logical or etymological reason for people to feel right as rain. The expression merely exhibits the mindlessness of its many forerunners. We should be thankful to feel right as rain because there would be the Dickens to pay if we all continued to feel right as a trivet.