It would have to rain today, of all days! https://www.collinsdictionary.com/us/dictionary/english-spanish/it-would-have-to-rain-today-of-all-days

What meaning of would is used here?

According to OED, it's the past of will https://oed.com/oed2/00285554

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    Hi GJC. ELL requests that before you ask for a word's definition you first look it up in a dictionary. If the definition does not make sense to you, then come here and explain why the definition you found does not make sense. – EllieK May 17 at 18:24
  • @EllieK oed.com/oed2/00285554 – GJC May 17 at 20:27
  • Oh my! That is way too much dictionary for an American. I don't want to consider that level of complexity can exist for any language. Try this one with 12 entries. merriam-webster.com/dictionary/would - I'm thinking #8. I see the difficulty. – EllieK May 17 at 20:51
  • If I go, I will see him. If I went, I would see him. But would also expressed conditionality. – Lambie May 17 at 20:54
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    @EllieK It took me ages, but it's definition #29 at GJC's link! – Old Brixtonian May 18 at 0:20

Since the word is "would," not "will," instead of trying to wade through that OED link's lengthy treatise on "will" from the 1989 edition, try this link to the current OED definition of "would" through Lexico:


  1. ironic Used to make a comment about behavior that is typical.
    ‘they would say that, wouldn't they?’

The OED's example above can just as well be simplified to:

They would say that!

Notice the similarity to your sentence:

It would have to rain today, of all days!

That could just as well be expanded to:

It would have to rain today, of all days, wouldn't it?

So, the definition of "would" in your sentence is essentially "is so typical for it to" (i.e., "It's so typical for it to have to rain today, of all days!"). "Typical" is being used in accordance with its following definition:


1.2. informal Showing the characteristics expected of or popularly associated with a particular person, situation, or thing.

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    Does behavior that is typical clash with today, of all days? – GJC May 17 at 22:42
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    No, not in an ironic sense. Also, what's typical is that it's happening to the speaker or other referenced persons as it's conveying an ironic emotional response to the action, like it's typical for them, like just their luck, that the one day of all the days it could've rained when it didn't, it rained today, a day they clearly didn't want it to rain. – Benjamin Harman May 17 at 22:50

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