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

Noun 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. Verb 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 The islands did get some rain, CNN Meteorologist Derek Van Dam said, but did not get Humberto's full impact. Hollie Silverman, CNN, "Humberto has been upgraded to a hurricane after moving further east into the Atlantic," 16 Sep. 2019 Those hairs are hardy, capable of withstanding years or even centuries of rain, heat and wind. Heather Murphy, New York Times, "Why This Scientist Keeps Receiving Packages of Serial Killers’ Hair," 16 Sep. 2019 While Florida won’t get Humberto’s winds and rain, swells from the storm could kick up the surf along the Southeast Coast and cause dangerous rip currents from Florida northward to North Carolina. Leigh Morgan, al, "Tropical Storm Humberto 2019 could become a hurricane later today," 15 Sep. 2019 On one side: that rain, those hipsters, those protests. oregonlive, "Pendleton Round-Up showcases the other side of Oregon," 14 Sep. 2019 People in the Bahamas, as well as the Turks and Caicos, should be prepared for flooding from heavy rain, gusty winds from squalls and building surf conditions, AccuWeather said. Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, "Tropical Storm Humberto likely to form by this weekend near Bahamas, could head toward Florida," 9 Sep. 2019 Dorian also lashed the eastern tip of Maine with heavy rain, strong winds and high surf as the storm passed offshore. Rob Gillies, Twin Cities, "Dorian lashes east Canada, then weakens heading out to sea," 8 Sep. 2019 The most significant rains inland in Central Florida occurred in Lake County, where squalls dumped between 2 and 3 inches. Tess Sheets, orlandosentinel.com, "Central Florida escapes worst of Hurricane Dorian," 4 Sep. 2019 As southwest India finally has some respite from the recent heavy rains, the discussions have now turned to what went wrong. Nandita Jayaraj, Quartz India, "The coffee plantations of India’s western ghats are being wrongly blamed for climate change," 4 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Cloud computing's reputation has gotten rained on the hardest during the times that companies or organizations have left cloud databases naked to the world—no hacking needed, just the correct URL. Rob Pegoraro, Ars Technica, "“Everything as a service” is coming—but we’re not there quite yet," 10 Sep. 2019 Earlier this week, calls from Florida lawmakers rained down, asking the Trump administration to waive visa requirements. Andrew Boryga, sun-sentinel.com, "Desperate Bahamians may be stranded after Hurricane Dorian," 7 Sep. 2019 Images of people kayaking down the streets of Charleston as rained battered the city overnight were shared on social media early Thursday. Linda Givetash, NBC News, "Carolinas brace for severe flooding as Dorian hits with high winds, rain," 5 Sep. 2019 Residents in the Orange County community of Orlo Vista woke up Wednesday relieved to see that their streets hadn’t flooded from Hurricane Dorian’s rains. Martin E. Comas, orlandosentinel.com, "Hurricane Dorian: Flooded by Irma in 2017, Orlo Vista spared this time," 4 Sep. 2019 That means wind gusts near hurricane force (74 mph or greater) and flooding rains up to 10 inches are expected. Jeff Berardelli, CBS News, "A critical moment for Tropical Storm Dorian is just hours away," 27 Aug. 2019 Moisture from the Amazon also nourishes the winter rains that supply Uruguay, northern Argentina and Paraguay with water. Craig Welch, National Geographic, "How Amazon forest loss may affect water—and climate—far away," 27 Aug. 2019 There, scientists still think the only source of food is detritus raining down from above. Eva Botkin-kowacki, The Christian Science Monitor, "NASA eyes the ocean: How the deep sea could unlock outer space," 23 Aug. 2019 All 298 passengers and crew on board the flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur were killed on July 17, 2014, when a missile shattered the Boeing 777 in midair sending debris and bodies raining down onto farms and fields of sunflowers. Fox News, "The Latest: Mother says 4 people to be tried over MH17 crash," 20 June 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


How to pronounce rain (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rain

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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

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an agreement to stop fighting a war

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