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rain·​bow ˈrān-ˌbō How to pronounce rainbow (audio)
: an arc or circle that exhibits in concentric bands the colors of the spectrum and that is formed opposite the sun by the refraction and reflection of the sun's rays in raindrops, spray, or mist
: a multicolored array
: a wide assortment or range
a rainbow of flavors
[from the impossibility of reaching the rainbow, at whose foot a pot of gold is said to be buried] : an illusory goal or hope
rainbowlike adjective


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: having many colors
: of, relating to, or being people of different races (see race entry 1 sense 1a) or cultural backgrounds
a rainbow coalition

Examples of rainbow in a Sentence

Adjective the rainbow costumes worn by mummers at Mardi Gras
Recent Examples on the Web
Arizona Coyotes player Travis Dermott defied the ban last month by placing rainbow tape on his hockey stick. Jenny Goldsberry, Washington Examiner, 26 Nov. 2023 Then a 25-foot rainbow 3 that sparked a 10-point halftime lead. Kirk Kenney, San Diego Union-Tribune, 24 Nov. 2023 The mother-of-two got in the spirit, too, and wore a rainbow costume complete with a pair of knee-high rainbow socks and a pair of sunglasses with red lenses. Hannah Sacks, Peoplemag, 24 Nov. 2023 The rainbow dress was one of the first outfits Summerville tackled. Jazz Tangcay, Variety, 18 Nov. 2023 And if gold isn’t your thing, the 60-piece stainless steel set comes in matte black, silver, and even rainbow metal. Hannah Rice, Rolling Stone, 14 Nov. 2023 Some of the pictures overlay figures rendered with black lines atop fields of soft, drippy daubs in a rainbow of hues. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, 10 Nov. 2023 There are two types of stamp sets available to purchase: one with a rainbow assortment and with a darker color scheme. Moriah Mason, Southern Living, 9 Nov. 2023 But first, the model, actor and advocate graced the red carpet in a chevron print backless gown that glittered in a rainbow of jewel tones. Hanna Lustig, Glamour, 8 Nov. 2023
The Garvin flies both a rainbow Pride flag and a Black Lives Matter flag, prompting the occasional shouted slur. Brian Owens, Scientific American, 18 Oct. 2023 While DeSantis was speaking, a protester stood up and held up a rainbow Pride flag. Tori Otten, The New Republic, 18 July 2023 The rainbow-haired rapper, whose real name is Daniel Hernandez, was picked up by an ambulance and hospitalized following the violent attack. Jessica Schladebeck New York Daily News (tns), al, 22 Mar. 2023 Kenny shares a selfie on Facebook with a rainbow view above the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Danielle Wallace, Fox News, 14 Dec. 2022 Siwa added even more rainbow pizazz to the ensemble with her denim vest. Seventeen, 7 June 2022 For 30 days, every product from T-shirts to bagels come in a rainbow motif in a nod toward supporting (and earning money from) the LGBTQ+ community. Lizz Schumer, Good Housekeeping, 7 June 2022 The crowd looked like a mini-rainbow coalition as Black, White and brown fans lined up to cheer the players. John Blake, CNN, 31 Oct. 2021 Bright heaps of soft toys and rainbow balloons and candles. Star Tribune, 24 July 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'rainbow.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1587, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of rainbow was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near rainbow

Cite this Entry

“Rainbow.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rainbow. Accessed 6 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


: an arc or circle of colors that appears in the sky opposite the sun and is caused by the sun shining through raindrops, spray, or mist

Medical Definition


rain·​bow ˈrān-ˌbō How to pronounce rainbow (audio)
: a combination of the sodium derivatives of amobarbital and secobarbital in a blue and red capsule

More from Merriam-Webster on rainbow

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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