Idioms

Learn idioms with comprehensive meaning, examples and origin details.

Idioms

dry run

dry run

Meaning

  • a rehearsal before the actual performance
  • Used in terms of performances as well as a corporate jargon which means to give something a trial before it is actually launched.

Example Sentences

  1. Today is only a dry run so we will not be using the actual costumes.
  2. The company launched the service as a dry run to understand what the customers actually want from it.
  3. It is best to give it a dry run to check if the colour bleeds before you put the garment in the washing machine with your other clothes.

Origin
In 1941, a publication called the Gettysburg Times published this phrase in the United States. The expression has been around for longer which provides a sense of the actual (performance). In the early 1800s, in the United States and particularly North America they had streams which would be flooded during rainy season but went dry in the summers. The word run attached to dry merely pointed to its meaning, that is, route.

Another possible explanation again comes from the United States where the fire department would have rehearsals that would be ‘dry’ instead of ‘wet’, that is, water was not used in these rehearsals. In 1896, Salem Daily News used the term wet run. By the 1900’s the idea of a dry run being a rehearsal was pretty set.

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