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[reyn] /reɪn/
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.
Compare drizzle (def 6).
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.
verb (used without object)
(of rain) to fall (usually used impersonally with it as subject):
It rained all night.
to fall like rain:
Tears rained from their eyes.
to send down rain:
The lightning flashed and the sky rained on us in torrents.
verb (used with object)
to send down in great quantities, as small pieces or objects:
People on rooftops rained confetti on the parade.
to offer, bestow, or give in great quantity:
to rain favors upon a person.
to deal, hurl, fire, etc., repeatedly:
to rain blows on someone's head.
Verb phrases
rain out, to cause, by raining, the cancellation or postponement of a sports event, performance, or the like:
The double-header was rained out yesterday.
rain cats and dogs, Informal. to rain very heavily or steadily:
We canceled our picnic because it rained cats and dogs.
Origin of rain
before 900; (noun) Middle English rein; Old English regn, rēn, cognate with Dutch, German regen, Old Norse regn, Gothic rign; (v.) Middle English reinen, Old English regnian
Related forms
rainless, adjective
rainlessness, noun
Can be confused
rain, reign, rein.
10. lavish, shower, pour. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for rain
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Of a sudden it grew lighter, and the rain dwindled to a fine mist.

    In the Valley Harold Frederic
  • Then everybody thanked him, and agreed that the rain was really coming on.

    Deerbrook Harriet Martineau
  • Then it was rain, wind, obscureness of gloom, and lightning.

  • In the afternoon it began to rain; and it poured for forty-eight hours.

    Days Off Henry Van Dyke
  • Nothing but that drip, drip of the rain, and that soft distant sighing of the sea.

    Antony Gray,--Gardener Leslie Moore
British Dictionary definitions for rain


  1. precipitation from clouds in the form of drops of water, formed by the condensation of water vapour in the atmosphere
  2. a fall of rain; shower
  3. (in combination): a raindrop, related adjectives hyetal pluvious
a large quantity of anything falling rapidly or in quick succession: a rain of abuse
rain or shine, come rain or shine
  1. regardless of the weather
  2. regardless of circumstances
(Brit, informal) right as rain, perfectly all right; perfectly fit
(intransitive; with it as subject) to be the case that rain is falling
often with it as subject. to fall or cause to fall like rain: the lid flew off and popcorn rained on everyone
(transitive) to bestow in large measure: to rain abuse on someone
(informal) rain cats and dogs, to rain heavily; pour
rained off, cancelled or postponed on account of rain
See also rains
US and Canadian term rained out
Derived Forms
rainless, adjective
Word Origin
Old English regn; related to Old Frisian rein, Old High German regan, Gothic rign
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for rain

Old English regn "rain," from Proto-Germanic *regna- (cf. Old Saxon regan, Old Frisian rein, Middle Dutch reghen, Dutch regen, German regen, Old Norse regn, Gothic rign "rain"), with no certain cognates outside Germanic, unless it is from a presumed PIE *reg- "moist, wet," which may be the source of Latin rigare "to wet, moisten" (cf. irrigate). Rain dance is from 1867; rain date in listings for outdoor events is from 1948. To know enough to come in out of the rain (usually with a negative) is from 1590s. Rainshower is Old English renscur.


Old English regnian, usually contracted to rinan; see rain (n.), and cf. Old Norse rigna, Swedish regna, Danish regne, Old High German reganon, German regnen, Gothic rignjan. Related: Rained; raining. Transferred and figurative use of other things that fall as rain (blessings, tears, etc.) is recorded from c.1200.

To rain on (someone's) parade is attested from 1941. Phrase to rain cats and dogs is attested from 1738 (variation rain dogs and polecats is from 1650s), of unknown origin, despite intense speculation. One of the less likely suggestions is pets sliding off sod roofs when the sod got too wet during a rainstorm. (Ever see a dog react to a rainstorm by climbing up on an exposed roof?) Probably rather an extension of cats and dogs as proverbial for "strife, enmity" (1570s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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rain in Science
Water that condenses from water vapor in the atmosphere and falls to Earth as separate drops from clouds. Rain forms primarily in three ways: at weather fronts, when the water vapor in the warmer mass of air cools and condenses; along mountain ranges, when a warm mass of air is forced to rise over a mountain and its water vapor cools and condenses; and by convection in hot climates, when the water vapor in suddenly rising masses of warm air cools and condenses. See also hydrologic cycle.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for rain



To complain; bitch (1960s+ Black)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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rain in the Bible

There are three Hebrew words used to denote the rains of different seasons, (1.) Yoreh (Hos. 6:3), or moreh (Joel 2:23), denoting the former or the early rain. (2.) Melqosh, the "latter rain" (Prov. 16:15). (3.) Geshem, the winter rain, "the rains." The heavy winter rain is mentioned in Gen. 7:12; Ezra 10:9; Cant. 2:11. The "early" or "former" rains commence in autumn in the latter part of October or beginning of November (Deut. 11:14; Joel 2:23; comp. Jer. 3:3), and continue to fall heavily for two months. Then the heavy "winter rains" fall from the middle of December to March. There is no prolonged fair weather in Palestine between October and March. The "latter" or spring rains fall in March and April, and serve to swell the grain then coming to maturity (Deut. 11:14; Hos. 6:3). After this there is ordinarily no rain, the sky being bright and cloudless till October or November. Rain is referred to symbolically in Deut. 32:2; Ps. 72:6; Isa. 44:3, 4; Hos. 10:12.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Idioms and Phrases with rain
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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