Dry Run

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10 comments on this post.
  1. Dale Murphy:

    In the world of Hydroelectric Power which I frequent, when we have taken a machine off-line for overhaul we run it “in the dry” (that is, without water) as we are testing it to make sure that it won’t fly apart with water in it and drown all hands. We call such an effort a “dry run”.


  2. amar:

    this is superb! I was speculating that the phrase was a result of the prohibition. so trucks would try and sneak across the border – and dry run to test.

  3. Don Frost:

    Now it may just be me, but I was watching Dukes of Hazzard on TV tonite and Boss Hogg used the term “dry run” on there in the episode about him dying (was a mistake) but anyway, I decided to see where the term came from. Thinking about how they were ridge runners during the prohibition I assumed it may have something to do with that. I see that amar was thinking the same thing and it does seem very plausible. Being that the first dictionary appearance was in ’41 makes it even more so. I have some shiners still alive in my family and I will look into it more but for now I think it is safe to say “Dry Run” (Dry=Prohibition) means to do a test run with no shine in the car.

  4. anonym:

    I thought it had something to do with running printing presses without ink…

  5. Pirate:

    I was thinking it was much older than that, stemming from pirates or bootleggers running blockades with their holds empty or “dry” in advance of running through with their holds full of bootleg rum!

  6. J.L.M.:

    A “wet run” sounds like someone didn’t make it to the bathroom in time. :/

  7. Thomas Guerra:

    Well, before gluing furniture or any wood-work project together it is standard practice to clamp the whole thing up without glue to see if everything is square. Once you establish that everything fits together correctly by this “dry run”, you glue it.

  8. Greg Rundlett:

    That would be “dry fit” when talking about carpentry.

  9. Ale:

    Thanks for the explanation, since long time ago I was thinking about the meaning of dry run ! BTW: I got used to it in finance processes.

  10. Singaporean:

    “Dry run” is used in the Singapore Army to indicate any training or exercise done without live ammo. In Singapore, the popular belief is that the term “dry run” originated from usage in the military (of which all male citizens are conscripted to). In the past generations of the 1960s and 1970s, many conscripts were Chinese-language educated, and the Army was their first immersion of an English-language environment. Their accent made them pronounce “trial run” as “dry run”. They also referred to themselves as “Chinese-educated”, which the English-schooled colleagues would hear as “Chinese helicopter”. Hence this became derogatory term that was used to refer to all soldiers who were Chinese-educated.

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