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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Some areas of North Texas could get between 1 and 4 inches of rain, with the heaviest rainfall being east of Dallas-Fort Worth, KXAS-TV (NBC5) reported. Dallas News, "Flood advisory issued for Dallas, Tarrant counties as widespread thunderstorms continue," 11 May 2021 Last November, Hurricane Eta deluged parts of the region with between 7 and 11 inches of rain. Chris Perkins, sun-sentinel.com, "The forecast for rainy season is out. Here’s what you need to know.," 11 May 2021 There was more than an inch of rain recorded in Cleveland, and there were snow showers mixed in through much of Northeast Ohio, with some sticking to the ground, although briefly. Cliff Pinckard, cleveland, "Finally! Plenty of sunshine and gradually warming temperatures in forecast: Cleveland, Akron weather," 10 May 2021 Storms that developed overnight and into the early morning hours have dumped widespread rainfall totals of 3 to 6 inches of rain across the Gulf Coast. Jackson Dill And Haley Brink, CNN, "'Potentially catastrophic flash flooding' forecast in New Orleans," 10 May 2021 In fact, most of the region will pick up a drenching 1 to 3 inches of rain. Jeff Berardelli, CBS News, "Rare Mother's Day snow possible from Illinois through Pennsylvania," 9 May 2021 Forecasters said to expect 1-2 inches of rain on Sunday. Sarah Brookbank, The Enquirer, "Weather outlook for Mother's Day weekend: Cooler temperatures, rain expected," 7 May 2021 Southern portions of the state may see anywhere from 3 to 6 inches of rain through Thursday, according to the National Weather Service. Brianna Kwasnik, Arkansas Online, "Severe weather possible in state Sunday; flash-flooding chance seen in southeast," 7 May 2021 Monday also has a 20% chance of thunderstorms during the day, but the evening should be free of rain and partly cloudy. Joe Mario Pedersen, orlandosentinel.com, "Cool nights and sunny skies forecast for Orlando this weekend," 7 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb San Diego: could rain but there is no certainty, 63. Julia Wick, Los Angeles Times, "Essential California: Local drought emergencies," 22 Apr. 2021 Apparently, the pandemic didn’t rain on everybody’s parade. Patrick Danner, San Antonio Express-News, "Despite unprecedented rise in number of world's billionaires, San Antonio's remains the same," 7 Apr. 2021 Nobody could rain on that parade, but judge Nicole Scherzinger definitely shed a few tears. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "What Was Your Favorite 'Masked Singer' Performance of 2020? Vote!," 17 Dec. 2020 Carpenter, a native Hoosier, understands all too well the wild variability of Indiana weather – and particularly rain – in springtime and the need both as an IndyCar driver and team owner of flexibility and prioritization come running around IMS. Nathan Brown, The Indianapolis Star, "Ed Carpenter Racing weathers highs, lows of first Indy 500 test day at IMS," 9 Apr. 2021 Fling your arm as far back as possible, then swing it across your chest to rain down deliverance at imaginary batters with no prayer against you. Los Angeles Times, "Column: The Gospel of Fernandomania: Forty years later, Fernando Valenzuela still a Mexican American icon," 7 Apr. 2021 Friday night’s series opener was postponed due to snow and rain. Ken Powtak, ajc, "New-look Red Sox top White Sox 7-4, Gonzalez HR starts rally," 18 Apr. 2021 While not intending to rain on Martin Jarmond’s and UCLA basketball’s postseason optimism, the ancient truism that past results do not guarantee future performance must be new to the Bruin AD and fellow UCLA fanatics. Los Angeles Times, "Letters: Hot Dodgers are always a hot topic," 17 Apr. 2021 The February attack even saw rockets rain down on residential areas outside the airport. Paul Iddon, Forbes, "The New Threat Of Drone Attacks On Iraqi Kurdistan’s Erbil," 17 Apr. 2021

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for rain

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for rain

Last Updated

13 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Rain.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rain. Accessed 16 May. 2021.

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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

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