ray

1 of 3

noun (1)

: any of an order (Rajiformes) of usually marine cartilaginous fishes (such as stingrays and skates) having the body flattened dorsoventrally, the eyes on the upper surface, and enlarged pectoral fins fused with the head

ray

2 of 3

noun (2)

1
a
: any of the lines of light that appear to radiate from a bright object
b
: a beam of radiant energy (such as light) of small cross section
c(1)
: a stream of material particles traveling in the same line (as in radioactive phenomena)
(2)
: a single particle of such a stream
2
a
: light cast by rays : radiance
b
: a moral or intellectual light
3
: a thin line suggesting a ray: such as
a
: any of a group of lines diverging from a common center
b
4
a
: one of the bony rods that extend and support the membrane in the fin of a fish
b
: one of the radiating divisions of the body of a radiate animal (such as a starfish)
5
a
: a branch or flower stalk of an umbel
6
: particle, trace
a ray of hope
rayed adjective

ray

3 of 3

verb

rayed; raying; rays

intransitive verb

1
a
: to shine in or as if in rays
b
: to issue as rays
2
: to extend like the radii of a circle : radiate

transitive verb

1
: to emit in rays
2
: to furnish or mark with rays

Example Sentences

Verb klieg lights were raying against the nighttime sky at the Hollywood premiere laugh wrinkles rayed out from the corners of the old man's eyes

Word History

Etymology

Noun (1)

Middle English raye, from Anglo-French raie, from Latin raia

Noun (2)

Middle English, from Anglo-French rai, from Latin radius rod, ray

First Known Use

Noun (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1598, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of ray was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near ray

Cite this Entry

“Ray.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ray. Accessed 1 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

ray

1 of 2 noun
: any of numerous flat broad fishes (as stingrays and skates) usually living on the sea bottom and having eyes on the upper surface of their bodies, a long narrow tail, and a skeleton made of cartilage

ray

2 of 2 noun
1
a
: one of the lines of light that appear to be given off by a bright object
b
: a thin beam of radiant energy (as light)
c
: a stream of particles (as electrons) traveling in the same line
2
a
: any of a group of lines coming from a common center
b
3
: a plant or animal structure that resembles a ray: as
b
: one of the bony rods in the fin of a fish
4
: a tiny bit
a ray of hope

Medical Definition

ray

1 of 2 noun
: any of numerous elasmobranch fishes (order Hypotremata) having the body flattened dorsoventrally, the eyes on the upper surface, and a much-reduced caudal region having typically a slender process often with venomous spines

ray

2 of 2 noun
1
: one of the lines of light that appear to radiate from a bright object
2
: a beam of radiant energy (as light) of small cross section
3
a
: a stream of material particles traveling in the same line (as in radioactive phenomena)
b
: a single particle of such a stream
rayed adjective

Biographical Definition

Ray 1 of 3

biographical name (1)

John 1627–1705 English naturalist

Ray

2 of 3

biographical name (2)

Nicholas 1911–1979 born Raymond Nicholas Kienzle American film director

Ray

3 of 3

biographical name (3)

Satyajit 1921–1992 Indian film director, writer, and producer

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