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gray

1
[ grey ]
/ greɪ /
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adjective, gray·er, gray·est.
noun
verb (used with or without object)
to make or become gray.
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Also especially British, grey .

Origin of gray

1
First recorded before 900; Middle English; Old English grǣg; cognate with German grau

OTHER WORDS FROM gray

grayly; especially British, greyly, adverbgrayness; especially British, greyness, nounun·grayed; especially British, un·greyed, adjective

Other definitions for gray (2 of 3)

gray2
[ grey ]
/ greɪ /

noun Physics.
the standard unit of absorbed dose of radiation (such as x-rays) in the International System of Units (SI), equal to the amount of ionizing radiation absorbed when the energy imparted to matter is 1 J/kg (one joule per kilogram). Abbreviation: Gy
Compare rad1.

Origin of gray

2
First recorded in 1975; named in honor of Louis Harold Gray (1905–65), English radiobiologist

Other definitions for gray (3 of 3)

Gray
[ grey ]
/ greɪ /

noun
A·sa [ey-suh], /ˈeɪ sə/, 1810–88, U.S. botanist.
Robert, 1755–1806, U.S. explorer and sea captain: discovered the Columbia River.
Thomas, 1716–71, English poet.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

GRAY VS. GREY

What’s the difference between gray and grey?

Gray and grey are simply different spellings of the same word, which refers to the color halfway between black and white (among other more figurative meanings).

In popular use, the two spellings are used interchangeably, though one spelling is often preferred in many places. The spelling gray is much more common in American English, while grey is more common in British English.

Remember: spell gray with an a in America, and spell grey with an e in England (among other places).

Want to learn more? Read the full breakdown of the difference between gray and grey.

Quiz yourself on gray vs. grey!

True or False? 

The words gray and grey are always used to refer to slightly different colors.

How to use gray in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for gray (1 of 3)

gray1
/ (ɡreɪ) /

adjective, noun, verb
a variant spelling (now esp US) of grey

Derived forms of gray

grayish, adjectivegrayly, adverbgrayness, noun

British Dictionary definitions for gray (2 of 3)

gray2
/ (ɡreɪ) /

noun
the derived SI unit of absorbed ionizing radiation dose or kerma equivalent to an absorption per unit mass of one joule per kilogram of irradiated material. 1 gray is equivalent to 100 radsSymbol: Gy

Word Origin for gray

C20: named after Louis Harold Gray (1905–65), English physicist

British Dictionary definitions for gray (3 of 3)

Gray
/ (ɡreɪ) /

noun
Thomas. 1716–71, English poet, best known for his Elegy written in a Country Churchyard (1751)
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

Medical definitions for gray (1 of 2)

gray
[ grā ]

n.
A unit for a specific absorbed dose of radiation equal to 100 rads.

Medical definitions for gray (2 of 2)

Gray
Henry 1825?-1861

British anatomist whose work Anatomy, Descriptive and Surgical (1858), known as Gray's Anatomy, remains a standard text.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Scientific definitions for gray

gray
[ grā ]

The SI derived unit used to measure the energy absorbed by a substance per unit weight of the substance when exposed to radiation. One gray is equal to one joule per kilogram, or 100 rads. The gray is named after British physicist Louis Harold Gray (1905-1965).
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Other Idioms and Phrases with gray

gray

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
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