noun, often attributive
\ ˈrān How to pronounce rain (audio) \

Definition of rain

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : water falling in drops condensed from vapor in the atmosphere
b : the descent of this water
c : water that has fallen as rain : rainwater
2a : a fall of rain : rainstorm
b rains plural : the rainy season
3 : rainy weather
4 : a heavy fall a rain of arrows


rained; raining; rains

Definition of rain (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to send down rain
2 : to fall as water in drops from the clouds
3 : to fall like rain soot and ash rained down

transitive verb

1 : to pour down
2 : to give or administer abundantly rained blows on his head
rain cats and dogs
: to rain heavily

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of rain in a Sentence

Noun The weatherman forecasts rain for this afternoon. Everyone went inside when the rain began to fall. What the garden needs is a good, soaking rain. A light rain began to fall. There has been some flooding due to the recent heavy rains. We've had a week of rain. The rains came and flooded the valley. Verb Sparks from the fireworks rained on the field. The volcano rained ashes on the city.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Snowfall will likely mix or turn into freezing rain later today, but not before about 1 to 3 inches of accumulation, according to a Winter Weather Advisory for northwestern Harford County and other parts of Maryland. Aegis Staff, baltimoresun.com, "About 1-3 inches of snow expected in northern Harford County today," 22 Feb. 2021 The region has seen all that Old Man Winter has to offer, from snow to sleet to freezing rain. Washington Post, "Another stellar weekend of Mid-Atlantic skiing," 19 Feb. 2021 This will be an all-snow situation everywhere except on Cape Cod, where there could be some mixing with sleet or freezing rain. Dave Epstein, BostonGlobe.com, "Snow will begin falling late Thursday," 18 Feb. 2021 Snow or possibly freezing rain is possible in the eastern end of the Columbia River Gorge and Hood River valley areas. oregonlive, "Portland metro Thursday weather: Valley rain; snow likely in Columbia River Gorge," 18 Feb. 2021 Over 400,000 customers in Texas still had no power and millions of residents were under a boil-water notice on Thursday as another winter storm pounded covered much of the U.S. with snow, freezing rain and extreme cold. Jaewon Kang, WSJ, "Cold Weather Hobbles Auto Makers, Texas Restaurants and Grocers," 18 Feb. 2021 Mitchell said areas to the south such as Akron received some sleet and freezing rain overnight, making for possible ice. Cameron Fields, cleveland, "OH Weather: National Weather Service cancels winter storm warning for Northeast Ohio as snow trickles out," 16 Feb. 2021 The storm was part of a large weather system that brought snow, sleet and freezing rain to the southern Plains and was spreading across the Ohio Valley and to the Northeast. Democrat-gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, "Winter clobbers much of nation," 16 Feb. 2021 Meanwhile, the Great Lakes and Northeast are forecast to receive yet more snow and freezing rain. Brett Molina, USA TODAY, "Winter weather: How to keep dogs safe in frigid temperatures (and how much it will cost)," 16 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But the rainfall is not expected to be heavy, and not everyone will see rain each day. Dallas News, "One more cold night, then back to warmth," 21 Feb. 2021 Even if someone tries to rain on your parade, your irrepressible friendliness should act as an umbrella. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, "Horoscope for Dec. 31, 2020: Happy birthday Bebe Neuwirth; Capricorn, invent new traditions," 31 Dec. 2020 Don't pay attention to any naysayers who want to rain on your parade. Tarot Astrologers, chicagotribune.com, "Daily horoscope for December 22, 2020," 22 Dec. 2020 The character has these ferocious riffs that build toward a confrontation with God for allowing so much injustice to rain down on Black people. Dallas News, "In a year of losses, something gained: How theater was artfully brought to the screen," 11 Dec. 2020 There's a morbid cloud of stats to rain on our parade. Jasmine Vaughn-hall, USA TODAY, "This Is America: I'm Black. I'm married. And systemic racism is making me rethink having kids.," 19 Nov. 2020 But, Rohling said, American soldier know-how can't rain down from the sky. Abraham Mahshie, Washington Examiner, "US Army Africa commander explains why troops are needed in Somalia," 2 Nov. 2020 Armenians huddle in a basement as Azerbaijani rockets rain down upon the city of Stepanakert. Daniel Sneider, The Christian Science Monitor, "Nagorno-Karabakh: A reporter’s regretful recollections," 26 Oct. 2020 Snow will start to fall from around 10 a.m. to noon in the Baltimore area and transition to rain as the temperature rises between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., before turning back into snow Wednesday evening, according to the forecast. Christine Condon, baltimoresun.com, "Maryland weather: Heavy, wet snow in the forecast for Baltimore on Wednesday; totals will depend on storm track," 15 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rain.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of rain


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for rain


Middle English reyn, from Old English regn, rēn; akin to Old High German regan rain

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about rain

Time Traveler for rain

Time Traveler

The first known use of rain was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for rain

Last Updated

2 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Rain.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rain. Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for rain



English Language Learners Definition of rain

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: water that falls in drops from clouds in the sky
: weather in which there is a lot of rain : rainy weather
: large amounts of rain that fall at a particular time of year



English Language Learners Definition of rain (Entry 2 of 2)

used with it to say that rain is falling
: to fall from above in large amounts
: to cause (something) to fall in large amounts


\ ˈrān How to pronounce rain (audio) \

Kids Definition of rain

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : water falling in drops from the clouds
2 : a fall of water in drops from the clouds
3 : rainy weather “Are you going to sleep out in all this rain?”— E. B. White, Stuart Little
4 : a heavy fall of objects


rained; raining

Kids Definition of rain (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to fall as water in drops from the clouds
2 : to send down rain The clouds rained for days.
3 : to fall in large amounts Ashes rained from the volcano.
4 : to give in large amounts Friends rained advice on me.
rain cats and dogs

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on rain

What made you want to look up rain? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Who Knew?

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!