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 Its lightweight, water resistant, and ideal for impromptu rain showers. Kate Tully Ellsworth, USA TODAY, "REI is having a massive end-of-year clearance sale—here's what to buy," 31 Dec. 2019 Freezing rain on Saturday caused nearly 500 crashes on Minnesota roads and caused Metro Transit bus service to shut down in the Twin Cities, the first interruption of service in eight years. CBS News, "Law enforcement responds to more than 50 rescue calls as storm slams Upper Midwest," 30 Dec. 2019 Farther to the east, a corridor of freezing rain and sleet is expected from eastern Nebraska to northern Wisconsin. Tim Darnell, ajc, "Deadly winter storm slams SoCal, heading toward Plains," 27 Dec. 2019 Some areas in the Columbia River Gorge near Hood River could get cold air trapped at the surface, providing a possibility for freezing rain later Thursday evening. oregonlive, "Portland Thursday weather: Frosty morning turns partly sunny; possible ice in the gorge," 26 Dec. 2019 Holiday travelers faced tricky driving conditions and dozens of flight delays Sunday amid rain showers and chilly temperatures. Tatiana Sanchez, SFChronicle.com, "Storm drenches the Bay Area and more rain expected for Christmas," 22 Dec. 2019 Most of the country will be hit with snow and freezing rain sometime this week. Aj Willingham, CNN, "5 things to know for December 16: Impeachment, Afghanistan, Lebanon, COP25, North Korea," 16 Dec. 2019 Add in a bit of a breeze and a chance of rain showers, and that makes for a lean on the UNDER 40.5 (-106). Cameron Dasilva, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Army at Navy odds picks and best bets," 12 Dec. 2019 It forms on pavement that has reached freezing temperatures while freezing rain or snow continues to fall. Rosie Siefert, chicagotribune.com, "What to do if you spin out on black ice," 10 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb As bullets rained down, four of El Mencho’s followers were killed and three soldiers were injured. Beth Warren, courier-journal.com, "How a Mississippi trooper almost took down the world’s most powerful cartel boss," 25 Nov. 2019 Besides confirming that the water is not rain pooling in the crater, its composition can also tell researchers more about what’s happening deep underground where the volcano’s magma is. USA TODAY, "Pooch hit by car goes for ride, manatee rescued, unusual toilet paper roller: News from around our 50 states," 1 Nov. 2019 Even former Supervisor David Campos, who, in August demanded Shanti rescind its honor for the Republican-donating Wilsey, couldn’t rain on this parade. Catherine Bigelow, SFChronicle.com, "Homeless Prenatal Program founder cites ‘power of resilience’ at nonprofit’s anniversary," 15 Oct. 2019 Wildlife enthusiast David Ford captured the foreboding scene, which looks as though a plane full of frankfurters flung open the hatch and let the dogs rain down upon the unassuming shore. Scottie Andrew, CNN, "Thousands of chunky, squirming innkeeper worms washed up on a California beach," 14 Dec. 2019 Young said as confetti rained down on him inside Lucas Oil Stadium. Stephen Means, cleveland, "Why Chase Young’s dropoff in statistical production the last two games is a good thing," 8 Dec. 2019 Sometimes even the monsoon rains no longer bring back flowing water in this part of the river. AZCentral.com, "It's one of Arizona's most precious rivers. Hundreds of new wells may leave it running dry," 5 Dec. 2019 For me, the Cold War meant practicing diving under my elementary-school desk to be ready in the event that Soviet ISBMs should come raining down on the local Air Force base, which was a pilot-training center. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, "History Is Short," 1 Dec. 2019 These results track well with previous research, including a 2017 study among Medicare recipients that found the more soot raining down in your zip code, the higher the death rates. Wired, "Air Pollution Is Still Killing Thousands of People in the US," 20 Nov. 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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Time Traveler for rain

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for rain

Last Updated

5 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Rain.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/raining%20cats%20and%20dogs. Accessed 19 January 2020.

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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

What made you want to look up rain? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to insert between existing elements

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