rainmaker

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

rain +‎ maker.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

rainmaker (plural rainmakers)

  1. Someone or something that causes or attempts to cause rain to fall.
    1. An African or Native American medicine man who seeks to induce rain through performing rituals.
      • 1825, [Conrad] Malte-Brun, “Book LXIX. Africa.”, in Universal Geography, or A Description of All the Parts of the World, [], volume IV (Containing the Description of Africa and Adjacent Islands), Boston, Mass.: Wells and Lilly []; New York, N.Y.: E. Bliss and E. White, OCLC 27808856, pages 329–330:
        Drought is the inherent vice of the climate of Africa, and the frequent destruction of the hopes of the husbandman which occurs from this cause, might have given origin to the function of "Rainmaker," among a less superstitious population. [] To procure rain, an ox is killed; the fat of it is chopped and mixed with different kinds of wood and leaves of trees; the whole are then burned. The secret of the business is to gain time by various artifices, until the rainmaker sees clouds arising in that direction from which rain generally comes.
      • 1833 June 1, “Traits of Indian Character. From the Philadelphia Com. Herald.”, in Thomas Hersey, editor, The Thomsonian Recorder, or Impartial Advocate of Botanic Medicine, and the Principles which Govern the Thomsonian Practice, volume I, number 17, Columbus, Oh.: Jarvis Pike & Co., OCLC 950903550, page 371:
        I looked up from under the bush, and saw a dark place in the sky, I heard a voice, it said; "Call for rain,"—and I did call. But no rain fell—I knew I was to be a rain-maker. Our people have always had rain-makers among them. So looking up again, a flash of lightning came out of the cloud, I heard another voice, it said: I will send you a thunderbolt—pick it up—keep it, and when the earth is dry, hold it up towards the sky, and it will bring down the rain.
      • 1855 June 13, J[ohn] Gardner Wilkinson, “XIV.—Account of the Jimma Country.”, in Norton Shaw, editor, The Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, volume XXV, London: John Murray, [], OCLC 991184206, page 213:
        As in many other parts of Africa, the rainmaker is a personage of great importance, whose powers of calling down rain whenever it is wanted are universally believed by the people, and his services are always eagerly sought when a fire happens in their very combustible houses.
      • 1994 July, “Appendix E: Traditional Use Areas of Potentially Affected Cultures”, in Theater Missile Defense Extended Test Range: Supplement to the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, Huntsville, Ala.: United States Army Space and Strategic Defense Command, OCLC 32208345, page E-2:
        Traditional Acoma territory was defined through landmarks, namely shrines that have some directional symbolism attached to them. For example, the rainmaker of the north brings snow and lives at Mount Taylor; the rainmaker of the west brings rain and lives in the Zuni Mountains; the rainmaker of the south, who brings drizzling rain, lives at an unknown location; and the rainmaker of the east brings fog and mist and also lives at an unknown location [].
    2. A person who seeks to induce rainfall through scientific methods, such as cloud seeding.
      • 2018 February 12, “Rainmakers consider seeding Bangkok sky as PM2.5 returns to ‘safe’ level”, in The Nation[1], Bangkok, archived from the original on 16 February 2018:
        Rainmakers consider seeding Bangkok sky as PM2.5 returns to ‘safe’ level [title] [] The Royal Rainmaking and Agricultural Aviation Department is preparing to seed clouds above Bangkok in an attempt to ease the capital’s smog problems.
      • 2018 March 27, Stephen Chen, “China needs more water. So it’s building a rain-making network three times the size of Spain.”, in South China Morning Post[2], Hong Kong, archived from the original on 16 August 2018:
        The system, which involves an enormous network of fuel-burning chambers installed high up on the Tibetan mountains, could increase rainfall in the region by up to 10 billion cubic metres a year [] One of the biggest challenges the rainmakers faced was finding a way to keep the chambers operating in one of the world’s most remote and hostile environments.
  2. (originally Canada, US, figuratively, informal) A person having the ability to generate business, raise funds, or otherwise engineer success for a company, organization, etc.
    The law firm relied heavily on Charlotte as its main rainmaker to bring in new clients.
    • 1913 January, Moreton Frewen, “The Great Drain of Gold to India”, in The Nineteenth Century and After: A Monthly Review Founded by James Knowles, volume LXXIII, number CCCCXXXI, New York, N.Y.: Leonard Scott Publication Co.; London: Spottiswoode & Co. Ltd., printers, OCLC 776577785, page 59:
      The fact is, that since a good, sound, honest, efficient, automatic, nonmetallic currency and standard was tampered with in 1893, India has been a happy hunting-ground for any empiric who conjured with a new scheme of currency, no matter how fantastic. Instead of admitting after a fair test that no ‘managed’ currency for such a community could be worked for a twelvemonth even by an Achille Fould, every sort of ‘financial rainmaker’ has since 1893 been enlarged on our hapless wards.
    • 2006, Jeffrey J. Fox, “Rainmaker Mottos”, in Secrets of Great Rainmakers, New York, N.Y.: Hyperion, →ISBN:
      The Rainmaker absolutely believes, without a dollop of doubt, the he or she always improves the customer's current state. The Rainmaker knows that if the customer does not buy, then the customer loses something, and the Rainmaker loses the sale.
    • 2006, Ford Harding, “What is a Rainmaker?”, in Creating Rainmakers: The Manager’s Guide to Training Professionals to Attract New Clients, Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons, →ISBN, part I (The Rainmaker Model):
      The rainmakers realize that the cost of obtaining a new client is much higher than that of keeping an old one. Many affirm that their relationships mean something to them beyond the possibility of future work. Whatever the reason, they never lose touch. These core elements are what make rainmakers different from other people.
    • 2008 June 4, Todd S[tanley] Purdum, “The Comeback Id”, in Vanity Fair[3], archived from the original on 17 February 2015:
      Over the years, [Bill] Clinton has had three main business involvements with [Ronald] Burkle. The first is a broad advisory capacity, for which Clinton has been paid flat fees for work as a rainmaker and liaison between Burkle and various potential investors.
    • 2011 January 17, Sandra Martin, “Liberal ‘rainmaker’ Keith Davey dies at 84”, in The Globe and Mail[4], Toronto, Ont., archived from the original on 9 September 2018:
      Keith Davey, the man they called The Rainmaker for his ability to orchestrate Liberal election victories, died Monday from complications of Alzheimer's disease.
  3. (baseball, informal) A batted ball that is hit very high into the air.
    The slugger is known for hitting rainmakers.
    • 2016 September 24, Adrian Garro, “Nelson Cruz’s 493-foot monster homer in Minnesota is Statcast’s second-longest of 2016”, in Cut4, MLB.com, Major League Baseball[5], archived from the original on 9 September 2018:
      His #Boomstick helped [Nelson] Cruz earn a spot as the second-longest Statcast™-rated homer of the 2016 season, coming up just shy of Giancarlo Stanton's 504-foot rainmaker in August.

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