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

Heavier rain was expected later in the day in the Paradise burn area, where a monstrous wildfire has killed at least 81 people and destroyed more than 13,000 homes. Kathleen Ronayne, The Seattle Times, "Light rain falling in N California could hurt search effort," 21 Nov. 2018 Heavy rain is also expected over the Carolinas, which are still recovering from extreme flooding brought by Hurricane Florence last month. Jon Kamp, WSJ, "Hurricane Michael Pummels the Florida Panhandle," 10 Oct. 2018 Forecasters say heavy rains also are expected early in the week in parts of West Virginia and the west-central portion of Virginia. Fox News, "The Latest: Florence expected to weaken as flood risk rises," 16 Sep. 2018 More rain is expected in the Houston area as thunderstorms roll in today, bringing the possibility of street flooding. Samantha Ketterer, Houston Chronicle, "More rain forecast today in SE Texas," 9 July 2018 But heavy rains are expected to resume in the coming days, while oxygen inside the cave has dropped to concerning levels. Time, "'We Have Limited Time.' Thai Authorities Race Against the Rains to Free Soccer Team Trapped in a Cave," 6 July 2018 Though workers have been pumping water out of the cave, more heavy rain is expected as monsoon season continues, CNN noted. Jameelah Nasheed, Teen Vogue, "Thai Cave Rescuers Face Difficult Conditions," 6 July 2018 But their efforts are slow, and more rain is expected this weekend. Madeleine Aggeler, The Cut, "Former Navy SEAL Diver Dies Trying to Save Thai Soccer Team Trapped in Cave," 6 July 2018 Officials prefer to get the boys out as soon as possible because heavy rain is expected by Saturday. Author: Tassanee Vejpongsa, Kaweewit Kaewjimda, Anchorage Daily News, "Thai diver dies in effort to rescue boys soccer team from cave," 6 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The meteors will rain like sparks from the hero’s righteous blade. Brian Resnick, Vox, "The Perseid meteor shower peaks this weekend. Here’s how to catch the spectacular show.," 8 Aug. 2018 Investors and analysts rained down criticism of the deal on Thursday, sending Broadcom’s stock price plummeting almost 20% in morning trading. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, "Why Broadcom's Stock Is Crashing," 12 July 2018 Chunks of the calcified nest rained down on us, and wisps of fresh ones swirled in the air. Liz Arnold, Longreads, "Making Peace with the Site of a Suicide," 11 July 2018 As patrons visited the setup on Main Street, walnuts would rain down from the trees overhead. Alison Kuznitz, courant.com, "Wethersfield Farmers' Market Celebrates 10 Years As A 'Community Asset'," 23 June 2018 Thousands of destroyers, battleships, attack vessels, and transport ships comprised the armada; the sky was a violent mirror, with airborne divisions raining down thousands of bombs simultaneously. Paula Mclain, Town & Country, "The Extraordinary Life of Martha Gellhorn, the Woman Ernest Hemingway Tried to Erase," 12 July 2018 The signature gold confetti rained down on the stage as the crowd erupted in cheers and Amanda's mom ran onto the stage to celebrate with her. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "15-Year-Old Amanda Mena Channels Aretha Franklin to Earn a Golden Buzzer on 'America's Got Talent'," 20 June 2018 Anyway, here’s hoping it has stopped raining somewhere. Bob Brookover, Philly.com, "Phillies to play at 12:05 today, if rain stops | Extra Innings," 16 May 2018 So there was a delay, but before the impatient folks in the balcony could start raining empty cups on the arena floor, the tableau began. The Masked Observer, AL.com, "The Masked Observer finds for dynamic Polka Dots, there's never 2 Much Fun," 4 Feb. 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

7 Dec 2018

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

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

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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).


a knickknack or trinket

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