Rein – Reign – Rain
These three words are homonyms, which is a fancy way to say that they sound the same but mean something completely different. They're easy to mix up, but if you mix them up, you will look stupid.
I don't watch it myself, but there's a television series called "Reign," and it's about queens and kings and such. It would be a very different show if it were called "Rain" or "Rein." I would guess a show called "Rain" would be about water falling from the sky (sounds boring), while "Rein" would be about horses (could be interesting, if you like horses).
- Often, reins. a leather strap, fastened to each end of the bit of a bridle, by which the rider or driver controls a horse or other animal by pulling so as to exert pressure on the bit. See illus. under harness.
- any of certain other straps or thongs forming part of a harness, as a checkrein.
- any means of curbing, controlling, or directing; check; restraint.
- reins, the controlling or directing power: the reins of government.
- verb (used with object)
- to check or guide (a horse or other animal) by exerting pressure on a bridle bit by means of the reins.
- to curb; restrain; control.
- "The painter must give a completely free rein to any feeling or sensations he may have and reject nothing to which he is naturally drawn."(Lucian Freud )
- "I need to rein myself in sometimes."(Kevin Pietersen)
This is a cliché that has to do with horses. Horses are controlled by reins: pulling back on the reins slows a horse down, while giving rein allows them to choose the speed. Reining someone in, therefore, means to slow them down, while giving (free) rein means to let them do as they please.
Reigning someone in is not an English phrase but, if it were, it would have something to do with monarchs. If you say you "reigned someone in," and you're a native English speaker, you look like a fool.
- the period during which a sovereign occupies the throne.
- royal rule or authority; sovereignty.
- dominating power or influence: the reign of law.
- verb (used without object)
- to possess or exercise sovereign power or authority.
- to hold the position and name of sovereign without exercising the ruling power.
- to have control, rule, or influence of any kind.
- to predominate; be prevalent.
"Let freedom reign."(Nelson Mandela)
If freedom reigns, it rules. Freedom can't yank us around with a bit in our mouths. It can't really reign either, since it's not a person, but that's beside the point.
Kings, queens, rulers, monarchs reign over their lands. Parents reign over their homes. The Pope reigns over the Vatican. I reign over my own body (most of the time). You reign over, not in.
- water that is condensed from the aqueous vapor in the atmosphere and falls to earth in drops more than 1/50 inch (0.5 mm) in diameter. (Compared to drizzle)
- a rainfall, rainstorm, or shower: We had a light rain this afternoon.
- rains, the rainy season; seasonal rainfall, as in India.
- weather marked by steady or frequent rainfall: We had rain most of last summer.
- a heavy and continuous descent or inflicting of anything: a rain of blows; a rain of vituperation.
"Where I come from, rain is a good thing."(Luke Bryan)
When I was a child, I used to love standing out in the rain, letting it soak my clothes. My mom wasn't so happy when I came in all muddy, and now that I'm an adult I can see her point of view. Rain isn't so much fun for me anymore.
I'd rather be reining in a horse or reigning over a kingdom than standing out in the rain.