- a bow or arc of prismatic colors appearing in the heavens opposite the sun and caused by the refraction and reflection of the sun's rays in drops of rain.Compare primary rainbow, secondary rainbow.
- a similar bow of colors, especially one appearing in the spray of a waterfall or fountain.
- any brightly multicolored arrangement or display.
- a wide variety or range; gamut.
- a visionary goal: He pursued the rainbow of a singing career for years before becoming a success.
- rainbow trout.
- having a diverse membership; including representatives from multiple racial and ethnic groups: a rainbow coalition of minority groups.
Origin of rainbow
Examples from the Web for rainbow
Here and there, sparingly, one of the dolls might be purple or green: “Rainbow Piets,” they call them.Dutch Try to Save Santa’s Slave
Nadette De Visser
December 2, 2014
David Bowie, Ronnie Wood, and Marianne Faithfull were regulars at the Rainbow Room, a restaurant on the fifth floor.Barbara Hulanicki, Queen of Fast Fashion
October 15, 2014
Because the marketing of the screening included a rainbow flag and said it was to be the kickoff of “LGBT Awareness Month.”Catholic University’s Harvey Milk Ban Reflects A Church In Transition
October 3, 2014
The turn-of-the-century stretch that yielded The Rainbow Children and N.E.W.S. is particularly easy to ignore.Prince Returns From the Wilderness and, Thankfully, Is as Restless as Ever
October 1, 2014
In 2010, alongside PAPER Magazine, FWY and Pharrell created Rainbow City at Art Basel Miami Beach.New York City’s New Mystery Art Piece
September 22, 2014
The Oreades had music written on scrolls, in all the colours of the rainbow.Philothea
Lydia Maria Child
She has faded away like a rainbow—like a drop of dew in the sun.Green Mansions
W. H. Hudson
No one dared to use the rainbow but Iris, to whom it had been given by Jupiter.
Notice a rainbow, when possible, and form one with a prism in the schoolroom.
Like all explorers he was unhappy over his lot and looked beyond the rainbow.Spacemen Never Die!
- a bow-shaped display in the sky of the colours of the spectrum, caused by the refraction and reflection of the sun's rays through rain or mist
- any similar display of bright colours
- (as modifier)a rainbow pattern
- an illusory hopeto chase rainbows
- (modifier) of or relating to a political grouping together by several minorities, esp of different racesthe rainbow coalition
- a member of the Rainbow Guides, the youngest group of girls (aged 5-7 years) in The Guide Association
Word Origin and History for rainbow
Old English renboga; see rain (n.) + bow (n.). Common Germanic compound (cf. Old Frisian reinboga, Old Norse regnbogi, Swedish regenbåge, Dutch regenboog, German Regenbogen). Rainbow trout (1876, American English) so called for its resplendent colors. Old English also had scurboga "shower-bow."
- An arc-shaped spectrum of color seen in the sky opposite the Sun, especially after rain, caused by the refraction and reflection of sunlight by droplets of water suspended in the air. Secondary rainbows that are larger and paler sometimes appear within the primary arc with the colors reversed (red being inside). These result from two reflections and refractions of a light ray inside a droplet.
The colored arch in the sky that is often seen after a rain. The rainbow is formed when water droplets in the air cause the diffraction of sunlight.