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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for rain

Synonyms: Noun

hail, shower, storm

Synonyms: Verb

heap, lavish, pour, shower

Visit the Thesaurus 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

Heavy rain is expected in the region until Saturday, and may increase the chances of a major calving event, according to the Independent newspaper in the United Kingdom. Bart Jansen, USA TODAY, "Massive iceberg looms off Greenland coast, threatening tiny village," 13 July 2018 New Lenox initially planned to stage its show July 6, but a second bout of heavy rain July 5 caused the fireworks to be water-damaged. Susan Demar Lafferty, Daily Southtown, "New Lenox reschedules fireworks," 12 July 2018 After entering the cave system, heavy rain struck the area and flooded the cave, meaning the team were unable to leave. SI.com, "Pogba Dedicates Victory to Rescued Thai Football Team After World Cup Semi Final Win Over Belgium," 11 July 2018 The storm is capable of 60 mph winds, heavy rain that could cause flooding, and hail. Robert Krier, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Severe thunderstorm warning issued in San Diego County," 11 July 2018 The Fourth of July broke yearly records for rain on that day. Samantha Ketterer, Houston Chronicle, "More rain forecast today in SE Texas," 9 July 2018 Through Tuesday, Beryl is forecast to dump two to three inches of rain on the Leeward Islands, which separate the northeastern Caribbean Sea from the western Atlantic Ocean and include Guadeloupe and Dominica. Brett Clarkson, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Beryl's remnants to bring heavy rain to Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands," 8 July 2018 Thunderstorms struck the Upper Peninsula on Sunday, June 17 and dropped up to 7 inches of rain on Houghton and Menominee counties, as well as in northern Wisconsin and Minnesota. Marc Daalder, Detroit Free Press, "Mackinac Island rallies to fundraise for Upper Peninsula after flooding," 27 June 2018 The torrential downpours had dropped around 2 inches of rain on the region through Wednesday night. CBS News, "Heavy rains spur flooding, havoc in western Pennsylvania," 21 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The franchise was formally awarded by MLS in January at a carnival-like gathering in downtown Miami while confetti rained down and soccer enthusiasts chanted and cheered. Craig Davis, Sun-Sentinel.com, "David Beckham, Jorge Mas encounter opposition in latest bid for Miami MLS stadium," 13 July 2018 World Peace was immediately assessed two technical fouls and ejected, walking back into the bowels of the stadium as boos rained down upon him. Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press, "Metta World Peace ejected from BIG3 basketball game in Detroit," 13 July 2018 These extremely energetic particles have been detected raining down from space since 1912, but researchers could not figure out what phenomenon could produce particles moving at such high speeds. Author: Sarah Kaplan, Anchorage Daily News, "In a cosmic first, scientists detect ‘ghost particles’ from a distant galaxy," 12 July 2018 These extremely energetic particles have been detected raining down from space since 1912, but researchers could not figure out what phenomenon could produce particles moving at such high speeds. Sarah Kaplan, chicagotribune.com, "In a cosmic first, scientists detect 'ghost particles' from a distant galaxy," 12 July 2018 So all of this smoke and ash raining down on Concord is from the #CountyFire? Michael Mcgough, sacbee, "Bay Area residents wake up to ashfall from the County Fire, about 75 miles away," 1 July 2018 As stones rained death upon him, Stephen could smile and bow at the applause of heaven. Loren A. Yadon, idahostatesman, "Leaving the ‘stage of life’ to the applause of heaven," 12 July 2018 The group had entered the sprawling Tham Luang cave in northern Thailand to go exploring after soccer practice on June 23 when monsoon rains filled the tight passageways, blocking their escape. Anchorage Daily News, "With V-for-Victory sign, rescued Thai boys celebrate freedom," 12 July 2018 WE Energies spokeswoman Amy Jahns said workers for a private contractor punctured a 4-inch gas main, causing a leak that resulted in the explosion that rained debris around the downtown area and ignited vehicles parked in the area. Todd Richmond, chicagotribune.com, "Firefighter killed, a dozen injured in gas explosion and fire near Madison, Wisconsin," 11 July 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.

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

Statistics for rain

Last Updated

14 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for rain

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

See more words from the same century

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

rains : 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

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).


an open space surrounded by woods

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!