Take a rain check

A ticket stub for a later time or a sale item

Did someone ever reply to your proposition with the phrase ‘take a rain check’? If you aren’t a native speaker, it might have confused you. What rain, what check? Don’t worry, we will explain it all. And if you already know what ‘take a rain check’ means, you should find interesting the story behind this idiom.

In this text, we present this idiom’s origin, its meaning, and synonyms. On top of that, you will also find examples of sentences containing the phrase, so it will be clear how to use it.

Origin of the phrase ‘take a rain check’

Before the phrase ‘take a rain check’ became an idiom, ‘rain check’ was used to describe tickets that were given to participants of an outdoor event such as a concert or a baseball game that has been interrupted by rain, different unfortunate bad weather conditions or power problems. Using this ticket, one could attend the event at a later date. This way, the customer didn’t feel cheated out of his money for a game or a concert that he wasn’t able to fully enjoy. Also, the stores at times issue rain checks for sold-out items that guarantee discounted prices when the goods are restocked.

What does ‘take a rain check’ mean?

With time, the phrase ‘take a rain check’ gained a broader meaning and nowadays, it can be used as a polite way to refuse an offer or an invitation. When taking a rain check, you express your intention to take up the proposition, just not at this moment, as it doesn’t suit you.

Still, it is an informal phrase, so don’t overuse it in situations when more formal language would be in place.

A ticket stub for a later time or a sale item
Take a rain check – informal way to politely refuse
take a rain check

Synonyms for ‘take a rain check’

‘Take a rain check’ won’t always fit your context, so here are some examples that can be used to replace it in a sentence:

  • delay
  • put off
  • hold off
  • politely refuse
  • respectfully decline

Examples of ‘take a rain check’ in a sentence

Lastly, take a moment to look at a few examples of sentences including the discussed idiom. These should help you better understand how to use this phrase.

  • Sadly, I had to take a rain check at first, but we met the following evening.
  • I won’t be able to make it, can I get a rain check?
  • Today I’ll take a rain check, but Saturday works great for me.
  • I’m sorry, but I’ll take a rain check for dinner this Friday. Maybe next week?
  • The producer explained to the disappointed guests that they can take a rain check for any of the upcoming events.

Everything to know about ‘take a rain check’

To sum up, the idiom ‘take a rain check’ is used for politely refusing an offer that would very much like to accept, only at a later date.

Now, you should have all the information about this idiom to use it properly. Learning new words and idioms is always a good idea. It will help you improve both speaking and writing.

We hope you found this article interesting. Please share your favourite idioms with us. Maybe we will cover them next. To start learning more about foreign languages, consider taking one of our language courses. Our courses are aimed at both companies and private individuals. Additionally, we have a wide offer for anyone needing a translation. All the information about our services can be found on our websites.