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


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.


Sparks from the fireworks rained on the field. The volcano rained ashes on the city.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

More rain is expected in Greater Cincinnati, bringing more flood warnings after a wet weekend. Sarah Brookbank, Cincinnati.com, "Cincinnati rain: Flood warnings continue. More storms on way after weekend deluge," 17 June 2019 My uncle and his colleagues were out working in the rain in the Killearn area and asked to come in but were told by their [manager] to stay outside and to carry on working. Clark Collis, EW.com, "Chernobyl star reveals tragic family connection to nuclear plant accident," 16 June 2019 Rain rally With the potential tying run on first and the go-ahead run waiting to enter the batter’s box in the eighth, the Camden Yards grounds crew scattered dirt in an effort to dry an infield and pitcher’s mounded dampened by a consistent rain. Nathan Ruiz, baltimoresun.com, "Orioles surrender first grand slam, move halfway to home runs allowed record in 8-6 loss to Blue Jays," 13 June 2019 Farm fields usually touched with the first shoots of corn or soybeans were fallow — soggy testaments to the toll taken by rain. Jerry Shnay, Daily Southtown, "Shnay: Bad spring ends on high note," 10 June 2019 The heavy rains that hit Baton Rouge, the River Parishes and New Orleans on Thursday are not expected to affect the Mississippi’s water levels, as drainage within those areas largely flows to other waterways. Mark Schleifstein, nola.com, "Morganza Spillway opening delayed indefinitely," 6 June 2019 The rain is expected to arrived in the mid to late afternoon. Julian Gill, Houston Chronicle, "More rain, thunderstorms possible around Houston, but no flooding expected," 6 June 2019 Such rains are expected to begin any day now in Kerala, on India’s southwestern coast, but will take several more weeks to work their way north. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "Northern India roasts as temperature tops 120," 5 June 2019 More rain is expected in towns along the river later this week. Julie Bosman, New York Times, "In the Midwest, Relentless Floods Dredge Up ‘Shadow’ of 1993," 3 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Whether shots rained in from distance or close range, Begovic would almost always save the day. SI.com, "Throwback: The 50 Best Bargains You've Ever Picked Up in FIFA Ultimate Team," 19 June 2019 As golden confetti rained from the rafters, Tyler succumbed his joyous tears and his mom jumped for joy in the wings before running out to embrace her son. Rebecca Angel Baer, Southern Living, "Watch This 11-Year-Old North Carolina Boy’s Golden Moment from America’s Got Talent," 12 June 2019 Mike Cronk had a chance to run as gunfire rained down during the 2017 Route 91 Harvest Festival massacre in Las Vegas. The Christian Science Monitor, "Enjoying more than just the game," 7 June 2019 But all the exits were blocked by rubble from the aerial bombardment being carried as dragon queen Daenerys Targaryen rained down hellfire from above. Jayme Deerwester, USA TODAY, "'Game of Thrones' star Lena Headey 'wanted a better death' for Cersei," 13 May 2019 These particles, called tektites, started raining down about 15 minutes after impact in a torrent of glass that didn't let up for another three quarters of an hour. Michael Greshko, National Geographic, "These fossils may capture the day the dinosaurs died. Here's what you should know.," 31 Mar. 2019 As shells continued to rain from the sky, she was trapped underground again, in one of countless bunkers in a mile-thick strip of sand between Mullaivakkal’s lagoon and the Indian Ocean. Longreads, "A Chance to Rewrite History: The Women Fighters of the Tamil Tigers," 22 May 2018 This gives Mahathir and the opposition a powerful soapbox from which to rain scathing blows against Najib and Barisan Nasional. Marc Lourdes, CNN, "Malaysia's Najib Razak is in a fight for his political life," 6 May 2018 And most recently, Cersei and Jaime Lannister fell victim to the shoddy infrastructure of the Red Keep when Daenerys and Drogon rained hell down on King's Landing. Ineye Komonibo, Marie Claire, "Tyrion Lannister Needs to Die Already on 'Game of Thrones'," 13 May 2019

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

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

More from Merriam-Webster on rain

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with rain

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rain

Spanish Central: Translation of rain

Nglish: Translation of rain for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rain for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about rain

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).


to take the place or position of

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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