Definition of rainbow in English:

rainbow

Line breaks: rain|bow
Pronunciation: /ˈreɪnbəʊ
 
/

noun

1An arch of colours visible in the sky, caused by the refraction and dispersion of the sun’s light by rain or other water droplets in the atmosphere. The colours of the rainbow are generally said to be red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet: all the colours of the rainbow
More example sentences
  • Their blossoms can be either single, double, or semi-double, and come in nearly every color of the rainbow except blue and green.
  • All of a sudden, the sky cleared, became blue and a perfect rainbow arched over me with one end in the sand.
  • A rainbow arched over the far wing in between showers of rain and bursts of sunshine.
1.1A display of the colours of the spectrum produced by dispersion of light.
More example sentences
  • The sole job of a spectroscope is to break light into a rainbow of its component colors.
  • Stained glass windows splayed sunlight in multicolored, non-sense rainbows over the rich Persian rugs thrown to either side of the ruby highway.
  • He paused, watching the rainbows of refracted light from it sparkle on the shelves and walls, an expression of almost reverent awe on his face.
1.2A wide range of related and typically colourful things: a rainbow of medals decorated his chest
More example sentences
  • There was a time when the better players had balls with a wide variety of pin positions, allowing a rainbow of reactions.
  • It's home to the more unusual sea apples - cucumbers that sprout a rainbow of filter-feeding arms - as well as colourful toxic sea urchins.
  • He will be back with a rainbow of programmes for this creative crowd.
1.3 [as modifier] Many-coloured: a big rainbow packet of felt pens
More example sentences
  • In their diversity and variety, they encompass various coalescing and opposing interests and ideas to give them a many-coloured rainbow splendour.
  • I saw my first puffins, a flock swimming in the sea, small birds with big triangular rainbow beaks that look as if they're held on with elastic, like clown noses.
  • The first time I went to Thailand, I got these rainbow beads.

Origin

Old English regnboga (see rain, bow1).

Phrases

at the end of the rainbow

Used to refer to something much sought after but impossible to attain: the long-lost loving parent who waits at the end of every unhappy child’s rainbow
[with allusion to the story of a crock of gold supposedly to be found by anyone reaching the end of a rainbow]
More example sentences
  • We'll never find happiness by looking for it, any more than we'll find the crock of gold at the end of the rainbow by looking for it.
  • Yet, they continue on with a program they might not enjoy, burnt out and stressed, because they see a light at the end of the rainbow that might not exist, but is still worth attempting to reach.
  • The slip of paper inside the fortune cookie I got to choose on Thursday night read: ‘You will soon find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.’

chase rainbows (or a rainbow)

Pursue an illusory goal: I couldn’t afford to waste petrol chasing rainbows as far as Leeds and back
More example sentences
  • I'd certainly understand if this purported surgery turns out to be some kind of Internet urban legend and I'm chasing rainbows, but I wanted to ask a doctor for whom I have respect.
  • The latest EU attack on chemicals is just chasing rainbows.
  • In these times when so many seem to spend their lives chasing rainbows, we can reflect on the great faith and fortitude of those who went before us.

Definition of rainbow in:

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