There are 2 main definitions of gray in English:

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gray 1

Pronunciation: /ɡrā/
(British grey)


1Of a color intermediate between black and white, as of ashes or an overcast sky: gray flannel trousers
More example sentences
  • Boys will wear black shoes, grey trousers, a white airtex polo shirt, and a navy v-neck sweatshirt featuring the school's specially designed logo.
  • One complaint, though: white / gray text on a black background is just plain painful on the eyes.
  • He wore white T-shirt and dark gray pants with black belt.
silvery, silver-gray, gunmetal, slate, charcoal, smoky
1.1(Of a person) having gray hair: a gray, fatherly gentleman
More example sentences
  • Wearing a brown jacket, blue shirt and blue jeans, he's undoubtedly grey.
  • He's grey, got a few miles on the clock and hooks into the public purse as though he was a fair-dinkum member of the royal family, but a merry old soul he is not.
  • No wonder I'm completely gray; you two have worried the color plumb out of my hair.
1.2 informal Relating to old people, especially when seen as an oppressed group: gray power
More example sentences
  • ‘If grey power gets itself organised, they'll be the most fantastic force in the land,’ she says.
  • In America, grey power is the key to electoral victory.
  • It felt more like a rally of the grey power movement.
1.3(Of the weather) cloudy and dull; without sun: a cold, gray November day
More example sentences
  • He looked exactly the same as yesterday, though that may have had something to do with the fact that the weather was grey and cloudy.
  • The weather is gray and gloomy throughout much of the country.
  • Tannadice was enveloped by the kind of dreich, grey weather which made you wonder whether the floodlights would have sufficient wattage to illuminate the pitch.
1.4(Of a person’s face) pale, as through tiredness, age, or illness: a few people, their faces gray and bitter
More example sentences
  • When I turned to look at him, I was shocked to see his face was gray, covered in perspiration and his breathing was shallow.
  • Keziah could see the boy's shoulders sagging with exhaustion, and his face was grey with fatigue.
  • His brown eyes were quite noticeable on his otherwise gray face.
2Dull and nondescript; without interest or character: gray, faceless men the gray daily routine
More example sentences
  • Zahariev works at a gas station and participation in the contest brought him a ray of light from his normally gray and monotonous routine.
  • But as long as it doesn't serve the economical interests of the grey men, those who control the governments that control the world, it won't happen.
  • The Holloway road is a grim grey artery filled with traffic pollution and lined by nondescript retail outlets.
3(Of financial or trading activity) not accounted for in official statistics: the gray economy
More example sentences
  • Actually, the so-called grey economy operates very well outside official regulation.
  • Finance Minister Milen Velchev believes that the grey economy has receded in Bulgaria in recent years, albeit by a modest degree.
  • The latest studies indicate that the grey economy in Bulgaria is at 20 per cent.


1Gray color or pigment: dirty intermediate tones of gray
More example sentences
  • Their water pots are a sudden burst of colour against the dusty grey of the road.
  • The sun was just beginning to set and the sky was a combination of blue, orange and gray.
  • It's a startling shade of blue grey, but apart from that, it's very well styled.
1.1Gray clothes or material: the gentleman in gray
More example sentences
  • Luxurious satin corsets in gun-metal grey, deep mauve, and black mix with slim-fitting trousers and ground-sweeping skirts.
  • For this show, Marc continues the dark, gloomy feel with black, navy and gray.
  • A woman entered dressed in dark gray, the dress was similar to mine, but the shoulders were covered.
1.2Gray hair: he sighed at the amount of gray at his temple
1.3 (usually Gray) The Confederate army in the Civil War, or a member of that army.
2A gray thing or animal, in particular a gray or white horse.
Example sentences
  • Eager equestrians were paraded round the ring by charming chestnuts and graceful greys in the popular horse classes.
  • Just as trumpeters wore distinctive uniforms, so too they rode distinctive horses, usually greys, to aid recognition.
  • Inside a house at Farm Road, Hyde, the collection of young adults, blacks, whites and greys had been happily breeding unchecked.


[no object]
1(Especially of hair) become gray with age: he had put on weight and grayed somewhat (as adjective graying) a man of about fifty with graying hair
More example sentences
  • In his late fifties, his sandy-coloured hair is greying and a thick grey beard accentuates his rounded face.
  • His once brown hair was slowly graying and he'd put on some weight.
  • Her straight, dark hair is graying, but her dark eyes are just as sharp and intelligent as they ever were.
1.1(Of a person or group) become older; age: (as adjective graying) a graying workforce
More example sentences
  • As I have grayed, however, I am much more wary of this approach.
  • On the one hand the current secondary school workforce is greying.
  • It is apparent that our membership has been graying for many years and that fewer and fewer young people are choosing to join us.
age, grow old, mature

Phrasal verbs

gray something out

Display a menu option in a light font to indicate that it is not available: all the property fields on the Shortcut tab are either missing or grayed out
More example sentences
  • When I open the Address Book and click on the File menu, the Import and Export options are grayed out.
  • Unfortunately, this option is grayed out [ghosted] and I cannot change the setting.
  • But better to simply not show them or grey them out so they can't even be selected.



Pronunciation: /ˈɡrāiSH/
Example sentences
  • Iron is a silvery white or grayish metal that is ductile and malleable.
  • The roof above is concrete struts with glass tiled pavement slabs forming hundreds of mini-skylights that let in a certain amount of greyish London light…
  • The birds have green/yellow legs and greyish heads.


Example sentences
  • Sin and evil weren't black - he'd argued the point with a priest - but were greyly anonymous.
  • Morning light filtered grayly through the curtains and I dressed quietly not wishing to disturb the elderly person who had granted me such a night of quiet rest.
  • We climbed a narrow staircase that led to a dusty office lit grayly by one narrow window.


Pronunciation: /ˈɡrānəs/
Example sentences
  • Some people would tell the story of your earlier life as an escape from the austerity and puritanism and greyness and lack of colour of Britain at that time.
  • A brightly coloured housing centre provides the only relief from the greyness.
  • As a rule of thumb, use olive- or yellow-toned cover-up or foundation to conceal redness around the nose and chin, and pale orange tones to conceal greyness and under-eye circles.


Old Englishgrǣg, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch grauw and German grau.

Words that rhyme with gray

affray, agley, aka, allay, Angers, A-OK, appellation contrôlée, array, assay, astray, au fait, auto-da-fé, away, aweigh, aye, bay, belay, betray, bey, Bombay, Bordet, boulevardier, bouquet, brae, bray, café au lait, Carné, cassoulet, Cathay, chassé, chevet, chez, chiné, clay, convey, Cray, crème brûlée, crudités, cuvée, cy-pres, day, decay, deejay, dégagé, distinguée, downplay, dray, Dufay, Dushanbe, eh, embay, engagé, essay, everyday, faraway, fay, fey, flay, fray, Frey, fromage frais, gainsay, Gaye, Genet, giclee, gilet, glissé, grey, halfway, hay, heigh, hey, hooray, Hubei, Hué, hurray, inveigh, jay, jeunesse dorée, José, Kay, Kaye, Klee, Kray, Lae, lay, lei, Littré, Lough Neagh, lwei, Mae, maguey, Malay, Mallarmé, Mandalay, Marseilles, may, midday, midway, mislay, misplay, Monterrey, Na-Dene, nay, né, née, neigh, Ney, noway, obey, O'Dea, okay, olé, outlay, outplay, outstay, outweigh, oyez, part-way, pay, Pei, per se, pince-nez, play, portray, pray, prey, purvey, qua, Quai d'Orsay, Rae, rangé, ray, re, reflet, relevé, roman-à-clef, Santa Fé, say, sei, Shar Pei, shay, slay, sleigh, sley, spae, spay, Spey, splay, spray, stay, straightaway, straightway, strathspey, stray, Sui, survey, sway, Taipei, Tay, they, today, tokay, Torbay, Tournai, trait, tray, trey, two-way, ukiyo-e, underlay, way, waylay, Wei, weigh, wey, Whangarei, whey, yea
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There are 2 main definitions of gray in English:

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gray 2

Pronunciation: /ɡrā/
(abbreviation Gy)


The SI unit of the absorbed dose of ionizing radiation, corresponding to one joule per kilogram.
Example sentences
  • The sievert is numerically equivalent to the gray for electrons and for X-rays irradiating the whole body.
  • Radiation doses are measured in rads or grays, where 1 gray equals 100 rads.
  • Thus for these particular radiations the dose equivalent in sieverts is numerically equal to the absorbed dose in grays.


1970s: named after Louis H. Gray (1905–65), English radiobiologist.

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