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


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

As people gathered at the scene in the rain, family members huddled and cried, and the crowd criticized police for firing their weapons, according to the newspaper. Katie Mettler, Washington Post, "A man live-streamed his traffic stop. He recorded police fatally shooting him.," 9 Sep. 2019 Nova Scotia could get up to 7 inches of rain in isolated sections, while parts of southeastern New England and Maine could also experience some rainfall. CBS News, "Hurricane Dorian leaves devastation in North Carolina," 7 Sep. 2019 My mother, sister, and I, as summer residents of Dennis, spent nearly every day at Scargo Lake, even in the rain. Lauren Gibbons Paul, BostonGlobe.com, "Rediscovering the joys of swimming in a pond," 6 Sep. 2019 At Armstrong School of International Studies in West Rogers Park –– as many blocks north of the city center as the academy is south — Miguel Munoz was dropping off his two children in the rain. Javonte Anderson, chicagotribune.com, "Teachers, custodians, aides, guards all prep for possible strikes as new school year begins in Chicago Public Schools," 3 Sep. 2019 The new alternate uniform that’s been created for the occasion is supposed to be some sort of camouflage pattern, but looks more like something that got left out in the rain: The Pitt athletic department has undergone a university-wide redesign. Paul Lukas, SI.com, "Uni Watch College Football Preview 2019," 29 Aug. 2019 Earlier Sunday, tens of thousands of umbrella-carrying protesters marched in the rain. Kin Cheung, The Denver Post, "Hong Kong police draw guns, arrest 36 in latest protest," 25 Aug. 2019 There is pathos to the civic unrest, to the images of a million umbrellas in the rain. Matthew Continetti, National Review, "Help Hong Kong by Defending Taiwan," 24 Aug. 2019 There simply is no fingerprint sensing technology that can quickly and reliably read a fingerprint through gloves, heavy moisture (such as in the rain), or heavy dirt (such as when one is working at a dirty job when approached by an attacker). Letters To The Editor, The Mercury News, "Letter: Gun makers have locked up patents on gun safety devices," 22 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Seeds of Miner’s lettuce (pictured; sometimes called Indian lettuce) germinate, Mediterranean-style, with the fall rains. Pam Peirce, SFChronicle.com, "Plant now: A Mediterranean garden for the fall," 6 Sep. 2019 The National Weather Service says the smoke will likely continue drifting up from the Kenai Peninsula until fall rains knock down the 102,500-acre fire once and for all. Madeline Mcgee, Anchorage Daily News, "Smoke to continue drifting into Anchorage intermittently from Swan Lake fire," 17 Aug. 2019 Boos rained from the stands in a 3-2 Tijuana loss against Queretaro in a Week 3 Copa MX match. Ivan Orozco, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Xolos’ Sanvezzo scores against former team, but Tijuana falls to Queretaro," 13 Aug. 2019 The loathing for Atlanta United was even on international display during the MLS All-Star Game last week at Exploria Stadium, when boos rained down from the stands every time an Atlanta player touched the ball. Mike Bianchi, Pro Soccer USA, "Atlanta United crushes Orlando City’s dreams — again," 8 Aug. 2019 But there is a chance rains could be even heavier, with the possibility of up to eight inches in some areas, the weather service said. David Fleshler, sun-sentinel.com, "Heavy rain, high tides will make for a wet South Florida weekend," 1 Aug. 2019 Indeed, only in 2010 did a panel of scientists weigh in to say, based on core samples of the crater, that an impact some 66 million years ago sent shock waves through the planet, raining fire and coating the Earth in ash. David Von Drehle, Twin Cities, "David Von Drehle: Digging into our planet’s history," 22 July 2019 The monsoon rains feed what has always been the most populous part of the human world. The Economist, "The South Asian monsoon, past, present and future," 27 June 2019 Ring particles are steadily raining down onto Saturn. Vahe Peroomian, The Conversation, "A brief astronomical history of Saturn’s amazing rings," 14 Aug. 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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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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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).


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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