noun, often attributive
\ ˈrān \

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


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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Coastal regions also face more flooding from more frequent and destructive storms, the report said, such as last year’s Hurricane Michael, which came with heavy rains that left some parts of the East Coast underwater. Erica E. Phillips, WSJ, "At the Water’s Edge, Seaports Are Slowly Bracing for Rising Ocean Levels," 11 Feb. 2019 Heavy rain will overwhelm any attempt to stem further flooding. Paul Daugherty, Cincinnati.com, "Paul Daugherty: Thailand cave rescue shows what true heroism is all about," 9 July 2018 If there's rain in the forecast, make sure your tires have good tread by sticking a coin in the groove of your tire. Brigitt Earley, Woman's Day, "6 Ways to Stay Safe on Your Next Family Road Trip," 29 Nov. 2018 Record-breaking rain in May provided an extra dose of pollution. Jenny Staletovich, miamiherald, "What’s an algae bloom and how did it wind up sliming Florida’s biggest lake?," 10 July 2018 Unless rain is actually coming out of the sky onto the stage at show time, the show will take place. Courant Community, "Community News For The Colchester Edition," 10 July 2018 Heavy rains have flooded the makeshift shelters where displaced people are living near the village of Atme, Syria. Raja Abdulrahim, WSJ, "Terror Group Seizes Last Syrian Opposition Stronghold," 10 Jan. 2019 The volcano’s constant rumblings could be heard Monday on shore as heavy rains lashed the area. Jake Maxwell Watts, WSJ, "‘Child of Krakatau’ Brings Death to Hundreds in Indonesian Tsunami," 24 Dec. 2018 Though there was some respite Wednesday, the Meteorological Department forecast more heavy rain this week. Washington Post, "Mudslide kills 9 in India’s remote mountainous northeast," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Immediately, the ceiling began raining gold confetti and Courtney broke down in tears. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'AGT' Star Courtney Hadwin's Time on the Show Was More Controversial Than People Realize," 14 Jan. 2019 Even with its partial collapse, the volcano is still active and smaller eruptions known as Strombolian eruptions, which can rain down lava fragments, are a threat. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Devastating Tsunami Threatens Endangered Rhinos," 28 Dec. 2018 Residents of a Nashville neighborhood are raising concerns after an overhead Delta flight reportedly rained debris down on cars during an emergency landing. Michael Bartiromo, Fox News, "Debris falls from Delta flight experiencing engine issue over Nashville: 'It's very concerning'," 27 July 2018 His girlfriend, Erin Walsh, 31, was sitting next to him when lava rained down on them July 16. Caleb Jones, The Seattle Times, "Passengers recount moments after lava hit Hawaii tour boat," 24 July 2018 An underdog Russia toppling one of the great teams of modern soccer, while screams rained down and patriotic chants roared around Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium? Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "Whatever happens, Vladimir Putin is winning the World Cup," 1 July 2018 Arriving on the unstable island as lava begins raining down, their expedition uncovers a conspiracy that could return our entire planet to a perilous order not seen since prehistoric times. azcentral, "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Advanced Screening," 25 May 2018 His band was still grappling with the initial implications of the Trump presidency while ash from forest fires that engulfed much of the countryside surrounding his hometown rained down and cast a fog over the city. Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader, "Portland’s Wooden Shjips challenge a turbulent world with hypnotic, inward grooves," 25 May 2018 An ample amount of liquid nitrogen rains down over the candy, then the staffer picks up the paper holder and rotates it, letting all the extra liquid dribble off until the surface appears clear. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Yes, we flew to Japan to watch someone pour liquid nitrogen on custom Kit Kats," 28 Oct. 2018

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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Statistics for rain

Last Updated

16 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for rain

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

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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 \

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

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).


excited commotion or publicity

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