- water that is condensed from the aqueous vapor in the atmosphere and falls to earth in drops more than 1/50 inch (0.5 mm) in diameter.Compare drizzle(def 6).
- a rainfall, rainstorm, or shower: We had a light rain this afternoon.
- rains, the rainy season; seasonal rainfall, as in India.
- weather marked by steady or frequent rainfall: We had rain most of last summer.
- a heavy and continuous descent or inflicting of anything: a rain of blows; a rain of vituperation.
verb (used without object)
- (of rain) to fall (usually used impersonally with it as subject): It rained all night.
- to fall like rain: Tears rained from their eyes.
- to send down rain: The lightning flashed and the sky rained on us in torrents.
verb (used with object)
- to send down in great quantities, as small pieces or objects: People on rooftops rained confetti on the parade.
- to offer, bestow, or give in great quantity: to rain favors upon a person.
- to deal, hurl, fire, etc., repeatedly: to rain blows on someone’s head.
- rain out, to cause, by raining, the cancellation or postponement of a sports event, performance, or the like: The double-header was rained out yesterday.
- rain cats and dogs, Informal. to rain very heavily or steadily: We canceled our picnic because it rained cats and dogs.
- precipitation from clouds in the form of drops of water, formed by the condensation of water vapour in the atmosphere
- a fall of rain; shower
- (in combination)a raindrop Related adjectives: hyetal, pluvious
- a large quantity of anything falling rapidly or in quick successiona rain of abuse
- rain or shine or come rain or shine
- regardless of the weather
- regardless of circumstances
- right as rain British informal perfectly all right; perfectly fit
- (intr ; with it as subject) to be the case that rain is falling
- (often with it as subject) to fall or cause to fall like rainthe lid flew off and popcorn rained on everyone
- (tr) to bestow in large measureto rain abuse on someone
- rain cats and dogs informal to rain heavily; pour
- rained off cancelled or postponed on account of rain
Old English regn “rain,” from Proto-Germanic *regna- (cf. Old Saxon regan, Old Frisian rein, Middle Dutch reghen, Dutch regen, German regen, Old Norse regn, Gothic rign “rain”), with no certain cognates outside Germanic, unless it is from a presumed PIE *reg- “moist, wet,” which may be the source of Latin rigare “to wet, moisten” (cf. irrigate). Rain dance is from 1867; rain date in listings for outdoor events is from 1948. To know enough to come in out of the rain (usually with a negative) is from 1590s. Rainshower is Old English renscur.
Old English regnian, usually contracted to rinan; see rain (n.), and cf. Old Norse rigna, Swedish regna, Danish regne, Old High German reganon, German regnen, Gothic rignjan. Related: Rained; raining. Transferred and figurative use of other things that fall as rain (blessings, tears, etc.) is recorded from c.1200.
To rain on (someone’s) parade is attested from 1941. Phrase to rain cats and dogs is attested from 1738 (variation rain dogs and polecats is from 1650s), of unknown origin, despite intense speculation. One of the less likely suggestions is pets sliding off sod roofs when the sod got too wet during a rainstorm. (Ever see a dog react to a rainstorm by climbing up on an exposed roof?) Probably rather an extension of cats and dogs as proverbial for “strife, enmity” (1570s).
- Water that condenses from water vapor in the atmosphere and falls to Earth as separate drops from clouds. Rain forms primarily in three ways: at weather fronts, when the water vapor in the warmer mass of air cools and condenses; along mountain ranges, when a warm mass of air is forced to rise over a mountain and its water vapor cools and condenses; and by convection in hot climates, when the water vapor in suddenly rising masses of warm air cools and condenses. See also hydrologic cycle.
In addition to the idioms beginning with rain
- rain cats and dogs
- rain check
- rain on one’s parade
- rain or shine
- rain out
- rainy day, a
- come in out of the rain
- it never rains but it pours
- right as rain