Wednesday, April 6, 2011
The term “rain check” is thought to have originated back in the 1880’s in reference to tickets issued to a future baseball game when that day’s game had to be called on account of rain. In 1889, Abner Powell created a detachable ticket stub to be used on such occasions. Prior to that, a whole new ticked was given. In 1890, the whole process was formalized when the National League included the practice in their official constitution.
Over the years, the use of rain checks has expanded to other areas. It has become an assurance to customers that an out of stock sale item can be purchased at a future date for the sale price.
Rain check is also used informally as a postponement, or declination, of an invitation, a sort of promise that an event will occur at a future date. “No dinner tonight but I’ll take a rain check for next week.”