take a rain check
- declining an offer that might be taken up later.
- refuse an offer politely, but imply that it can be taken up later.
- to guarantee that something will not be done right now but will be done later.
- one cannot accept an invitation but would like to do so later.
- to give a coupon to a customer confirming that they would be able to purchase something at a discounted price that it is being sold for right now but is out of stock.
- He said he would take a rain check on visiting us today.
- I’ll have to take a rain check on going to the movies this evening; I already have other plans.
- He couldn’t attend the concert with his friends. He took a rain check instead.
- Do you mind if I take a rain check on the team outing? I have to finish this project by tomorrow.
- I would have loved to come to your place, but I’ll take a rain check on that. I will be out of town during the weekend.
- The couple took a rain check from today’s school duties because it is their anniversary and they wanted to spend the day together.
- I am taking a rain check from having morning coffee with my husband today because I have to get to a business meeting by 8 am.
- The children took a rain check from the exam as they were told that it was an optional but important assessment.
- I will have to take a rain check from going to the Kitty party because my son is not well.
- She always takes a rain check when we have to go out together. Perhaps she does not like our company.
The phrase originated in the 1870s in the USA in reference to baseball games. If it rained heavily enough for a match to be postponed, the ticket holders for the match were given a “rain check,” i.e., a voucher to attend another match.
The phrase is speculated to come from sports events getting cancelled in the event of rain. This is especially true for high-profile events that sell tickets at handsome rates to their patrons. In the event of rain, when the sport is indeed cancelled, a rain check is provided, which gives the audience assurance that the amount spent on the ticket will be compensated at a later date through another match. Gradually, its meaning changed to something that is avoided or procrastinated for later.