Definition of rainbow in English:



  • 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’
    • ‘Their blossoms can be either single, double, or semi-double, and come in nearly every color of the rainbow except blue and green.’
    • ‘Is there a raindrops-per-cubic-inch threshold that's necessary for a rainbow to be visible?’
    • ‘All of a sudden, the sky cleared, became blue and a perfect rainbow arched over me with one end in the sand.’
    • ‘You don't get rainbows without rain, after all.’
    • ‘A mother's smile is like seeing a rainbow after it rains and the sun comes out.’
    • ‘A rainbow arched over the far wing in between showers of rain and bursts of sunshine.’
    • ‘The spray - which can be felt half a mile away - creates a rainbow, arching over the whole width and shimmering in the sunlight.’
    • ‘A brilliant rainbow formed a perfect arch on what was destined to be a great vista, where Lutyens' memorial arch [now called India Gate] stands.’
    • ‘The receding rains also formed a rainbow spanning the sky and dipping into a village in the valley.’
    • ‘The brightest rainbows occur when the raindrops are large, so by studying the rainbow, you can deduce whether the drops that are falling are large or small.’
    • ‘In some cases, light is reflected twice by each rain drop, forming a larger, fainter secondary rainbow outside the primary rainbow.’
    • ‘But the reward was generous - a tremulous rainbow arched over the mountains, shaggy with greenery.’
    • ‘A rainbow arched its bridge of many colours across the evening sky, nature's magical wave of the wand.’
    • ‘As we leave Pisac and roll down the side of the gorge, the sun suddenly emerges and a brilliant rainbow lights up the verdant green Sacred Valley of the Incas.’
    • ‘You can find these roses in every color of the rainbow, except blue.’
    • ‘Late-blooming clematis grew up the trellis, forming a wall of flowers in a rainbow's colours, feathery seed heads and green leaves, enclosing the patio.’
    • ‘Mists from the falling water made rainbows all down the cliff.’
    • ‘Some trick of the angle, the light, and the nature of the liquid droplets in the atmosphere produced a rainbow that seemed to be shining entirely in the red end of the spectrum.’
    • ‘It was still grey and wet from raining earlier but she could see the red and orange from a dim rainbow across the mountain.’
    • ‘You'll find every shade in the rainbow except blue, including gorgeous blends of two or more colors.’
    brightly coloured, bright-coloured, deep-coloured, brilliant, glowing, radiant, vivid, rich, vibrant
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A display of the colours of the spectrum produced by dispersion of light.
      • ‘Large, clear-cut, crystalline windows shone in the late afternoon sun, casting colorful rainbows across the expansive lawn.’
      • ‘The sunlight in the water splashed circles of rainbows on the rock walls, making it an absolutely beautiful place to doze in the afternoon.’
      • ‘The diamond was shining brilliantly in the sun, casting tiny rainbows on her fingers.’
      • ‘Stained glass windows splayed sunlight in multicolored, non-sense rainbows over the rich Persian rugs thrown to either side of the ruby highway.’
      • ‘Sunlight filtered through the water, creating the rainbows, and providing them with light.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The sole job of a spectroscope is to break light into a rainbow of its component colors.’
      • ‘The light bounced off his light blonde hair and the three silver hoops in his ear in iridescent rainbows.’
      • ‘The light from the open window glinted off every angle and gave the appearance that the blade itself was shimmering as it sent rainbows of refracted light across the room.’
    2. 1.2 A wide range of related and typically colourful things:
      ‘a rainbow of medals decorated his chest’
      • ‘There was a time when the better players had balls with a wide variety of pin positions, allowing a rainbow of reactions.’
      • ‘The streets of the town are packed with fabric shops; their shelves piled high with a rainbow of materials.’
      • ‘He entered with a tray balanced on his hand, and when he looked up and saw us a rainbow of emotions crossed his face.’
      • ‘Following the path of the red Aids ribbon, Armstrong's band has spawned a rainbow of imitators.’
      • ‘Huge boulders covered with a rainbow of corals are back-dropped by dazzling white sand making the colours even more vibrant in contrast.’
      • ‘They were arranged by type and color, so just walking down the long pathways gave the viewers a rainbow of botanicals and a smell just as invigorating as the scenery.’
      • ‘When we come out, our families have a rainbow of reactions.’
      • ‘India has a rainbow of cultures spread out over 27 states and six territories.’
      • ‘Lining up in a rainbow of small, banana-shaped plastic boats, one by one we steered our kayaks across the angry stretch of open water.’
      • ‘The bright green shrubs and rainbows of flowers all looked the same after a while.’
      • ‘He will be back with a rainbow of programmes for this creative crowd.’
      • ‘Their different reasons for forming these collections comprise a rainbow of motives as complex as a Navajo sand painting.’
      • ‘The Physical Activity Guide offers a rainbow of activities to choose from.’
      • ‘The natural health guru suggests trying to eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables each day to get the right variety of nutrients.’
      • ‘Behind the asymmetric bars sat the gymnasts, a rainbow of tracksuits under a canopy of national flags.’
      • ‘Bright colors created a rainbow of dresses and veils!’
      • ‘A cast of 10 will employ tricks and spells such as mime, dance, live music and puppetry, thus enchanting their audience with a rainbow of stories from around the world!’
      • ‘Their music was a rainbow of sounds and songs drawn from gamelan to pop, via jazz and Terry Riley's minimalism.’
      • ‘His death at the age of 99 conjures up a rainbow of feelings.’
      • ‘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.’
    3. 1.3[as modifier] Many-coloured:
      ‘a big rainbow packet of felt pens’
      • ‘In their diversity and variety, they encompass various coalescing and opposing interests and ideas to give them a many-coloured rainbow splendour.’
      • ‘I really shouldn't have been surprised when I ended up at the ice cream parlor with Mom and my three scoops of rainbow sherbet in a sugar cone.’
      • ‘This season the store looks like the set of Austin Powers - all short skirts and rainbow dresses, along with simpler black and white versions.’
      • ‘Nowadays, we find golden berries, rainbow corn, and black carrots, varieties not commonly available before.’
      • ‘She sat across from the little girl at her kitchen table with a large plate of freshly chopped rainbow peppers sitting between them and ranch dressing to dip them in.’
      • ‘Huge blocks of pale turquoise were set off by strips of lemon yellow hems or belts, and oversized rainbow stripes crisscrossed the body on dresses and shell tops.’
      • ‘A hundred dancers, clothed in rainbow silks, celebrate Diwali in Blenheim palace.’
      • ‘Most striking is a work with tiny rainbow streaks at the top edge near the center, like a prismatic reflection, while almost all of the rest is black.’
      • ‘I dressed in black tank top and rainbow gypsy skirt.’
      • ‘She was wearing multicoloured jazzy pants and a slinky glittery rainbow top that exposed her entire back, a lot of her stomach and neck and was very risqué.’
      • ‘A black cloth got transformed into rainbow hues, and the Tri-colour emerged from the pieces of cloth kept in a tin.’
      • ‘Above it all floated a huge sparkling mirror ball, glistening as it rotated in the sun, spewing rainbow streaks across the implausible scene.’
      • ‘With its amazing soundtrack and psychedelic rainbow visuals it captivates adults and kids alike.’
      • ‘The first time I went to Thailand, I got these rainbow beads.’
      • ‘Whether in a cup or a cone - single or double dip - and sprinkled with chocolate or rainbow jimmies, ice cream evokes happy memories.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Someone had given Colin a huge bouquet of rainbow balloons, and there were so many that they blocked the three men from the view of the front seat and the side windows.’
      • ‘Your favorite ice cream flavor is cotton candy and you eat it with rainbow sprinkles.’
      • ‘First, fill a standard coffee mug with 2 scoops of rainbow sherbet.’
      • ‘Every day of my junior year, I wore a pair of rainbow suspenders, jeans rolled up to my knees, striped knee socks, and a newsboy cap.’


Old English regnboga (see rain, bow).