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 Monday’s rain was enough to break records in a few cities, according to the weather service. Leigh Morgan, al, "More light rain expected for Alabama today; severe storms possible tomorrow," 11 Feb. 2020 On Friday, the heavy rain will be ongoing across the urban corridor of the Northeast during the morning hours. NBC News, "Snow, ice, heavy rain and storms cause East Coast travel trouble," 6 Feb. 2020 Some freezing rain is likely across parts of the Ohio Valley and into interior portions of the Northeast through Thursday night, according to the weather service. Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY, "Powerful, snow-packed winter storm on march from New Mexico to New England," 5 Feb. 2020 In the meantime, let’s hope for plenty of rain in California. Isabel Garcia, House Beautiful, "Could There be Another Southern California Super Bloom in 2020?," 5 Feb. 2020 His body was later found in a pond that formed after days of rain in east Jerusalem’s Beit Hanina neighborhood, according to the Times of Israel. Mike Brest, Washington Examiner, "'Know that I always seek truth': Rashida Tlaib responds after retweeting false report that Israelis killed Palestinian boy," 28 Jan. 2020 The probability of rain heavy enough to halt the mining in southeastern China of rare-earth elements, vital to many electronic devices, will rise from 2.5% now to 6% by 2050. Greg Ip, WSJ, "For the Economy, Climate Risks Are No Longer Theoretical," 16 Jan. 2020 How to Clean Salt off UGGs As if rain and snow weren't messy enough, the salt from streets and sidewalks can leave an unwanted white hue on suede and sheepskin shoes. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "How to Clean UGGs at Home, No Matter How Minor or Serious the Stain," 14 Jan. 2020 Heavy rain and flooding are possible from the Plains to the Mississippi and Ohio valleys. Tim Darnell, ajc, "Heavy rains, major storms moving into South this weekend," 9 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb From there, Shevchenko rained down punches on Chookagian. Danny Segura, MMA Junkie, "UFC 247 results: Valentina Shevchenko dominates Katlyn Chookagian to retain title," 9 Feb. 2020 Belgian paratroopers rained down on the city and the mercenaries swooped in to provide support. Washington Post, "‘Mad Mike’ Hoare, mercenary in Congo who later led a failed coup, dies at 100," 6 Feb. 2020 Hot embers rained down from the sky, gale-force winds blasted sparks in through open windows, and anything that could catch fire did. Jayme Moye, Popular Mechanics, "Our Parents Told Us Not to Play With Fire. Thankfully, These Scientists Didn’t Listen.," 30 Jan. 2020 Maybe by the time this runs it will a have rained, but for general purposes, how often? Neil Sperry, ExpressNews.com, "Agave snout weevil: The nemesis of century plants everywhere," 2 Jan. 2020 Searing pebbles and ash rained down the southwestern slope, igniting brush fires. Andrea Frazzetta, National Geographic, "What it’s like to live in the shadow of an active volcano," 29 Dec. 2019 Skittles rained down on the field and the Seahawks had all the momentum. Tim Booth, The Denver Post, "49ers win NFC West, No. 1 seed with Week 17 win over Seahawks," 29 Dec. 2019 Ash rained down nearby on Pacific Coast Highway as the canyon smoldered. Los Angeles Times, "Fires burn across Southern California as dangerous winds continue through Friday," 22 Oct. 2019 If Gruden tabs Keenum, vicious boos on Sunday will rain down on FedEx Field upon the Redskins’ first incompletion. Andy Benoit, SI.com, "Dwayne Haskins Wasn’t Ready on Sunday, So What Does Washington Do Now?," 30 Sep. 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.

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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

16 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Rain.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rain. Accessed 29 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for rain


How to pronounce rain (audio)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on rain

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rain

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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

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