Entries linking to rainwater
Middle English rein, from Old English regn "rain, descent of water in drops through the atmosphere," from Proto-Germanic *regna- (source also of Old Saxon regan, Old Frisian rein, Middle Dutch reghen, Dutch regen, German regen, Old Norse regn, Gothic rign "rain"), with no certain cognates outside Germanic, unless it is from a presumed PIE *reg- "moist, wet," which may be the source of Latin rigare "to wet, moisten" (see irrigate).
Rain dance "dance performed by a tribal group in hope of summoning rain" is from 1867; rain date in listings for outdoor events, giving an alternative date should rain interrupt them on the intended day, is from 1948. To know enough to come in out of the rain (usually with a negative) "take ordinary measures for one's protection" is from 1590s. Rain-shower is Old English renscur. Rain-gauge "instrument for collecting and measuring the amount of rainfall at a given place" is by 1769.
Old English wæter, from Proto-Germanic *watr- (source also of Old Saxon watar, Old Frisian wetir, Dutch water, Old High German wazzar, German Wasser, Old Norse vatn, Gothic wato "water"), from PIE *wod-or, suffixed form of root *wed- (1) "water; wet."
To keep (one's) head above water in the figurative sense is recorded from 1742. Water cooler is recorded from 1846; water polo from 1884; water torture from 1928. Linguists believe PIE had two root words for water: *ap- and *wed-. The first (preserved in Sanskrit apah as well as Punjab and julep) was "animate," referring to water as a living force; the latter referred to it as an inanimate substance. The same probably was true of fire (n.).
updated on April 05, 2021