Definition of rain in English:

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Pronunciation: /reɪn/


[mass noun]
1The condensed moisture of the atmosphere falling visibly in separate drops: the rain had not stopped for days it’s pouring with rain
More example sentences
  • Winter storms normally bring ordinary rain, freezing rain and sleet as well as snow.
  • Weather effects like sand storms or heavy rain and snowfall shorten your units' line of sight and cut their air supply.
  • Before long, heavy drops of rain began to pour on the barren landscape.
rainfall, precipitation, raindrops, rainwater, wet weather;
the wet, a fall of rain;
sprinkle, drizzle, mizzle, Scotch mist, shower, rainstorm, cloudburst, torrent, downpour, deluge, squall, thunderstorm
1.1 (rains) Falls of rain: the plants were washed away by unusually heavy rains
More example sentences
  • The drought loosened its grip in the southeastern States in November, and more emphatically so in January 1941, when heavy rains fell.
  • Good general rains fell in 1996, easing the situation until the onset of the next El Niño in 1997.
  • A high precipitation super-cell produces very heavy rains, large hail, downbursts and tornadoes.
1.2 [in singular] A large or overwhelming quantity of things that fall or descend: he fell under the rain of blows
More example sentences
  • Within moments, all ran for cover as a rain of debris began falling.
  • The Cityboys formed a rough circle, ignoring the rain of lead that fell on them from above.
  • His hand went up to his face and before he had a chance to wonder what had caused it, a rain of small pebbles fell from the sky.
shower, deluge, flood, torrent, spate, avalanche, outpouring, rush, flurry;
volley, storm, hail, barrage, broadside, salvo


[no object] (it rains, it is raining, etc.)
1Rain falls: it was beginning to rain
More example sentences
  • Rainy season really started with a vengeance today, so the walk to the station was a little damp as it was raining and humid.
  • Water comes through the windows when it is raining.
  • Sarah's lungs and immune system still have not developed properly and she is not allowed outside while it is raining, in case she catches pneumonia.
1.1 literary (Of the sky, the clouds, etc.) send down rain: the low sky raining over tower’d Camelot
More example sentences
  • I have an image of my house with a small cloud continuously raining over it like the house where the Munster's lived.
  • I kept staring up, my head bent back and stared as the smoky gray clouds rained on me.
  • Farther away, they could see a low patch of clouds in the sky that was raining.
1.2 [with adverbial of direction] Fall or cause to fall in large or overwhelming quantities: [no object]: bombs rained down [with object]: she rained blows on to him
More example sentences
  • As the bombs rained down I instinctively dropped to ground, the kids immediately followed suit.
  • But the next assault is just around the corner, and the band's talent for stringing out the quiet moments makes the next shower of blows rain down even harder.
  • Blows rained down on me from all sides and I fell to the floor under a merciless avalanche of abuse.
fall, pour/rain down, drop, shower
shower, pour, drop;
bombard someone with, pepper someone with, pelt someone with
1.3 [with object] (it rains ——, it is raining ——, etc.) Used to convey that a specified thing is falling in large quantities: it was just raining glass
More example sentences
  • Along with the gusty winds, torrential rains and the punishing power shutdowns, it rained snakes of all sizes and colours on the city.
  • Above was nothing, but a pale pink glow even as it rained flowers.
  • This night couldn't get any better if it rained rubies and diamonds.



be as right as rain

Be perfectly fit and well: she’ll be right as rain in a couple of days

it never rains but it pours

see pour.

rain cats and dogs

Rain very hard.
Origin uncertain; first recorded in 1738, used by Jonathan Swift, but the phrase rain dogs and polecats was used a century earlier in Richard Brome's The City Witt
Example sentences
  • ‘It'll be raining cats and dogs in a minute ‘she muttered to herself.’
  • The first barricaded suspect situation I attended was, as I recall, on a dark and stormy night, in fact it was raining cats and dogs.
  • It was raining cats and dogs, and my bike had died on me.

rain on someone's parade

informal Prevent someone from enjoying an event; spoil someone’s plans.
Example sentences
  • The space agency is anxiously awaiting its first manned flight in two and a half years, but will weather rain on NASA's parade?
  • I didn't want to rain on his parade, so I kept my mouth shut about my frustrated dream of becoming a marine biologist.
  • We're not raining on your parade just because it's illegal; it's also dangerous for your computer.

(come) rain or shine

Whether it rains or not; whatever the weather: he runs six miles every morning, rain or shine
More example sentences
  • There are any number of good medicine walks right at the front door, flat, easy going and devastatingly beautiful in any weather, rain or shine.
  • He found it amusing to see people rush throughout their daily lives and hardly stop to appreciate the day, weather rain or shine.
  • They play every Sunday morning, rain or shine, often getting more people out playing when the weather's bad than good.

Phrasal verbs

be rained off (or North American out)

(Of an event) be cancelled or terminated because of rain: the match was rained off
More example sentences
  • We have been extremely fortunate and the event was rained off only once.
  • Detailed weather communication might have saved him some angst; the sprint car event was rained out and rescheduled for July 19.
  • On a day when all the Second Division matches were rained off, Windhill and Salts fell victim to the inevitable with their game finely balanced.



Pronunciation: /ˈreɪnləs/
Example sentences
  • The river is more a stream, eventually splitting into marshy islets and after such a rainless spring was bone dry for a mile of so.
  • The desert sand provides a soft base for delicate asparagus spears, while the warm, rainless coastal climate enables farmers to control moisture and fertilizer.
  • The long period of hot, sultry, humid, rainless weather has finally broken this morning, with a long, rumbling storm.


Old English regn (noun), regnian (verb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch regen and German Regen.

  • The word rain, spelt regn in Old English, features in a number of sayings and common expressions. The phrase it is raining cats and dogs is first found in the 18th century, but the alternative rain dogs and polecats goes back a further hundred years. That in the past, gullible people might have believed that drowned dogs and cats seen floating in flooded streets had fallen from the skies during the previous heavy downpour is the best that has been found by way of explanation. Someone concerned about a future period of financial need might talk about saving for a rainy day. This may go back to the days when farm labourers working on a casual basis needed to save a proportion of their wages for times when bad weather stopped them working and earning money. One way of politely refusing an offer is to imply that you might take it up at a later date, or take a rain check. In the USA a rain check is a ticket given to spectators at a sporting event. If the event is cancelled because of rain—or ‘rained off’—they can then claim a refund.

Words that rhyme with rain

abstain, appertain, arcane, arraign, ascertain, attain, Bahrain, bane, blain, brain, Braine, Cain, Caine, campaign, cane, cinquain, chain, champagne, champaign, Champlain, Charmaine, chicane, chow mein, cocaine, Coleraine, Coltrane, complain, constrain, contain, crane, Dane, deign, demesne, demi-mondaine, detain, disdain, domain, domaine, drain, Duane, Dwane, Elaine, entertain, entrain, explain, fain, fane, feign, gain, Germaine, germane, grain, humane, Hussein, inane, Jain, Jane, Jermaine, Kane, La Fontaine, lain, lane, legerdemain, Lorraine, main, Maine, maintain, mane, mise en scène, Montaigne, moraine, mundane, obtain, ordain, Paine, pane, pertain, plain, plane, Port-of-Spain, profane, Raine, refrain, reign, rein, retain, romaine, sane, Seine, Shane, Sinn Fein, skein, slain, Spain, Spillane, sprain, stain, strain, sustain, swain, terrain, thane, train, twain, Ujjain, Ukraine, underlain, urbane, vain, vane, vein, Verlaine, vicereine, wain, wane, Wayne

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: rain

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