rein » range

Chiefly in:   give free range

Classification: English

Spotted in the wild:

  • “It is fine for a thinker to employ game theory and give free range to the constructive possibilities of his or her mind by saying, eg, “let’s suppose …” (link)
  • “… whereas, cats that are fed by the farmer tend to stay around the farm and give free range to their hunting instincts, targeting the rats. …” (link)
  • “… lingered too much on the received notion that we should give free range to our ‘inner child’ without addressing the acute conflict between the …” (link)

Suggested to me by Gabe Winant on 18 May 2005. The cites above are from the ca. 331 provided by a Google web search for “give free range to”. (Compare that to the ca. 16,500 hits for “give free rein to”.)

This one makes so much sense I’m surprised there aren’t more examples. The existence of the modifier “free(-)range”, as in “free range chickens”, undoubtedly encourages “give free range”.

See _rein »reign_ for comments on the susceptibility of “rein” to replacement.

| link | entered by Arnold Zwicky, 2005/05/18 |

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