Rain Check

The idiom "rain check" means to postpone an offer or invitation, indicating an intention to take up the offer at a later date.

Rain Check: Meaning and Definitions

  • The phrase “rain check” is used to indicate a request for the postponement of an offer or invitation until a later date.
  • It signifies an individual’s inability to accept an invitation at present but shows an interest in accepting it at a future date.
  • This idiom is often used in informal situations to politely decline an offer, suggesting that the person would like to take up the offer at another time.
  • It can also mean a ticket given to spectators of an outdoor event, like a baseball game, to allow them to attend a later event if the current event gets cancelled due to rain.
  • Furthermore, it can be used in retail, where a customer is given a “rain check” when an advertised item is out of stock, allowing them to purchase it at the sale price when it’s back in stock.

Rain Check Synonyms

  1. Postponement
  2. Deferral
  3. Take a pass (for now)

Example Sentences

  • I’m swamped with work at the moment, but I’d love to take a rain check and catch up next week.
  • The concert offered a rain check to all the fans when the show had to be cancelled due to a storm.
  • Since the dinner clashed with her prior engagement, she requested a rain check.
  • The store was out of the discounted items, so they gave me a rain check.
  • He suggested a movie tonight, but I’m not feeling well, so I asked for a rain check.

The Origins and Etymology of Rain Check

The term “rain check” comes from the practice in American baseball during the 19th century.

If a game was postponed due to bad weather, typically rain, spectators were given a “rain check”, which was a ticket for a later date.

This practice then expanded to other areas, like retail and social engagements.

You can read more about it on Wiktionary.

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Douglas Heingartner

Douglas Heingartner, the editor of SayWhatYo!, is a journalist based in Amsterdam. He has written about science, technology, and more for publications including The New York Times, The Economist, Wired, the BBC, The Washington Post, New Scientist, The Associated Press, IEEE Spectrum, Quartz, The Village Voice, The Los Angeles Times, Frieze, and others. His Google Scholar profile is here, his LinkedIn profile is here, and his Muck Rack profile is here.