Main definitions of gray in US English:

: gray1gray2

gray1

(British grey)

adjective

  • 1Of a color intermediate between black and white, as of ashes or an overcast sky.

    ‘gray flannel trousers’
    greyish, silvery
    white, silver, hoary
    ashen, wan, pale, pasty, pallid, colourless, sallow, leaden, bloodless, anaemic, white, waxen, chalky
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    1. 1.1 (of the weather) cloudy and dull; without sun.
      ‘a cold, gray November day’
      cloudy, overcast, dull, dim, dark, sunless
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    2. 1.2 (of a person) having gray hair.
      ‘a gray, fatherly gentleman’
      grey-haired, hoary, grizzled
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    3. 1.3informal Relating to old people, especially when seen as an oppressed group.
      ‘the political power of the gray vote’
      grey-haired, hoary, grizzled
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    4. 1.4 (of a person's face) pale, as through tiredness, age, or illness.
      ‘a few people, their faces gray and bitter’
      pale, deathly pale, pallid, white, bloodless, ashen, ashen-faced, ashy, chalky, chalk-white, grey, white-faced, whey-faced, waxen, waxy, corpse-like, deathlike, ghostly
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  • 2Dull and nondescript; without interest or character.

    ‘gray, faceless men’
    ‘the gray daily routine’
    characterless, colourless, nondescript, unremarkable, faceless
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  • 3(of financial or trading activity) not accounted for in official statistics.

    ‘the gray economy’
    unofficial, informal, irregular, back-door
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noun

  • 1Gray color or pigment.

    ‘dirty intermediate tones of gray’
    • ‘The film is dominated by the grays, whites, and browns of Newfoundland in the early spring.’
    • ‘He will wear more earthy tones such as brown, and of course, black, white and gray.’
    • ‘Their water pots are a sudden burst of colour against the dusty grey of the road.’
    • ‘Suit colours for the summer include stone, muted grey, cream and oyster.’
    • ‘The anemic palate that colours the film - grays, browns, and other hushed earth tones - provide the foreboding backdrop.’
    • ‘Oriental blue and silver gray are the colors traditionally associated with Military Intelligence units.’
    • ‘His hair was also a light gray that looked almost white, but it was very short, like it had just been shaved.’
    • ‘His eyes were a very deep grey, almost blue, but they were still very familiar.’
    • ‘Instead, opt for solid colors such as plain whites, blacks and grays; they're classics and can easily be matched with the rest of your wardrobe.’
    • ‘Although the underlying colour scheme of grey and red remains the same, some old pieces have been dropped and new ones added.’
    • ‘The sky is now a uniform shade of grey and it's raining fairly steadily.’
    • ‘The snow seemed amazingly white against the cold grey of an Ontario winter sky.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I know that grey isn't the best background colour to use on a webpage, but I'll put up with it.’
    • ‘It was only two o'clock, yet the sky was a deep grey dotted with small white clouds.’
    • ‘Today the restaurant is a discreetly elegant affair, all subtle greys and white.’
    • ‘I'd go for a dark shade of gray because it blends well with just about everything.’
    • ‘Although the set is colourful, the costumes themselves range from shades of grey to black and white.’
    • ‘The sets are effective; economical and fairly traditional, with drained out colour, predominantly greys and blues.’
    1. 1.1 Gray clothes or material.
      ‘the gentleman in gray’
      • ‘A man wearing a smart but casual suit of light grey sat behind one of the largest desks that Jasmine had ever seen.’
      • ‘For this show, Marc continues the dark, gloomy feel with black, navy and gray.’
      • ‘There are two pairs of dancers on stage, one dressed in red, one dressed in pale grey.’
      • ‘Diago wore gray beneath his white robes as well, though he hid it better.’
      • ‘Ethan's train of thought was cut short by a man dressed in monochromatic gray.’
      • ‘It was a man dressed in gray and in his arms he was carrying another man dressed in the same drab gray clothes.’
      • ‘Luxurious satin corsets in gun-metal grey, deep mauve, and black mix with slim-fitting trousers and ground-sweeping skirts.’
      • ‘The one in charge had gray hair and was wearing gray.’
      • ‘My attire that evening, as my father had requested, was a gown of ivory silk overlaid in a surcoat of deep grey.’
      • ‘A woman entered dressed in dark gray, the dress was similar to mine, but the shoulders were covered.’
      • ‘They walked quickly over to a young man in charcoal grey, with hair the same color.’
    2. 1.2 Gray hair.
      ‘he sighed at the amount of gray at his temple’
      • ‘Something in the combination seems to work for him - at 55 he looks at least a decade younger, and there's no grey in his glossy black hair.’
      • ‘That was the first time I noticed the streaks of gray in his dark hair.’
      • ‘He has brown hair with some grey that came down just below his ears.’
      • ‘His tawny hair was touched with wisps of silver grey.’
      • ‘I've got lines on my face, grey in my hair, and after the exertion of yesterday my muscles ache like an old, old man.’
      • ‘She noticed the laugh lines around his eyes and the streaks of gray in his hair.’
      • ‘In the center is Frank, wearing a black tuxedo and looking much younger - no beard then, and certainly no gray in his hair.’
      • ‘He wasn't running to fat yet, which was a good thing, and there was no grey in his moustache, which was always a dead giveaway.’
      • ‘He laid a shaking hand on his son's forehead, then smoothed the black hair that was now streaked with gray at the temples.’
      • ‘The woman looked middle aged with dark black hair shot with stony gray.’
      • ‘His hair was black with some distinguished gray around his temple.’
      • ‘There is quantity certainly, but quality too: clear skin, facial contours, thick dark hair with very little grey.’
      • ‘But take off the wig and she is proud to acknowledge just a little grey in her dark hair.’
      • ‘Kevin smiled at the older woman, who had hardly a sprinkle of gray in her hair.’
    3. 1.3usually 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.

    • ‘The four greys are both carriage and riding horses - Heloise, Marta, Tayten, and Nerid.’
    • ‘Eager equestrians were paraded round the ring by charming chestnuts and graceful greys in the popular horse classes.’
    • ‘Inside a house at Farm Road, Hyde, the collection of young adults, blacks, whites and greys had been happily breeding unchecked.’
    • ‘The Makah were renowned whale hunters and stratigraphic unit V yielded the remains of at least 67 animals, mainly humpbacks and greys.’
    • ‘Among the greys is a darker-coloured shark with brilliant white trailing edges to its fins - the first silvertip I have seen.’
    • ‘Just as trumpeters wore distinctive uniforms, so too they rode distinctive horses, usually greys, to aid recognition.’
    • ‘Because greys are much less common in racing than horses of a darker hue, they have always been popular - and few have more fans than ‘Dessie’.’
    • ‘The powerful grey will carry the colours of the Fair City Flyers, who are local to Miss Russell's Kinross base.’

verb

[no object]
  • 1(especially of hair) become gray with age.

    ‘he had put on weight and grayed somewhat’
    • ‘Her straight, dark hair is graying, but her dark eyes are just as sharp and intelligent as they ever were.’
    • ‘Even his neat crop of raven hair was beginning to grey at the edges.’
    • ‘The hair might be greying, but the brow is unfurrowed.’
    • ‘His hair was starting to gray around the edges, and his eyes were sunken, hidden away behind bags and wrinkles that were now forming.’
    • ‘Dapper, charming, and handsome, with a full head of sandy hair that greyed attractively over the years, Felt resembled actor Lloyd Bridges.’
    • ‘Her flame-red hair, beginning to gray with age, marked her as a foreigner.’
    • ‘Beside him sat a jovial fellow in his late forties or early fifties, with dark greying hair which was cropped short on the sides.’
    • ‘His hair had been graying when she met him, but now it was completely white.’
    • ‘He was an older man, hair graying at the temples and a handlebar moustache taking up most of his face.’
    • ‘I may be two stone heavier and my hair may be greying, but I've been training for a while now, and was pretty confident I'd be up to speed.’
    • ‘His once brown hair was slowly graying and he'd put on some weight.’
    • ‘When hair starts greying prematurely, it can cause a great deal of anxiety and hopelessness.’
    • ‘His hair was starting to grey, but he still looked as if he could give anyone a good beating.’
    • ‘He appears to be in a vigorous middle age, his black hair greying at the temples.’
    • ‘In his late fifties, his sandy-coloured hair is greying and a thick grey beard accentuates his rounded face.’
    • ‘Her hair had greyed prematurely, her once youthful face lined with worry and fraught with grief.’
    • ‘He's greying, but in a distinguished manner, at the temples and behind the ears.’
    • ‘Her blond hair, though slightly graying, still curled gorgeously past her shoulders.’
    • ‘His dark hair was greying and his face was careworn and weary.’
    • ‘His black hair was slightly greying and his leathery face well worn and he seemed quite content to sit on the grass, letting the day pass him by.’
    1. 1.1 (of a person) become older.
      ‘the workforce is graying rapidly’
      • ‘Analysis of the academic pharmacy workforce has confirmed the graying of the professoriate.’
      • ‘The greying of the teacher librarian obviously refers to one aspect of the issue: the fact that so many of our profession are ageing.’
      • ‘On the one hand the current secondary school workforce is greying.’
      • ‘Plan for it because the world is graying and Seniors are already using the Internet in droves.’
      • ‘But the revived interest in ergonomic theories to some extent must be the result of the graying of our work force.’
      • ‘As I have grayed, however, I am much more wary of this approach.’
      • ‘The unprecedented greying of Canadian society has many calling for a seniors’ bill of rights that would enshrine in law the specific needs of this emerging group.’
      • ‘There's been a lot written recently of the greying of the Canadian population.’
      • ‘The New York Times needs to loosen up if it hopes to be relevant not just to my graying generation but to younger people.’
      • ‘It is apparent that our membership has been graying for many years and that fewer and fewer young people are choosing to join us.’
      • ‘In short, the graying of entrepreneurs will change the way organizations large and small do business with smaller enterprises.’
      • ‘But the graying of their workforce may present problems in the near future.’
      age, get old, grow old, mature
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Phrasal Verbs

  • gray something out

    • Display a menu option in a light font to indicate that it is not available.

      ‘temporarily unavailable items are listed in a lighter, ‘grayed-out’ font’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

gray

/ɡreɪ//ɡrā/

Main definitions of gray in US English:

: gray1gray2

gray2

(also Gy)

noun

Physics
  • The SI unit of the absorbed dose of ionizing radiation, corresponding to one joule per kilogram.

    • ‘When a doctor prescribes a treatment he will define it in terms of dose in Grays required at a point.’
    • ‘Radiation doses are measured in rads or grays, where 1 gray equals 100 rads.’
    • ‘To calculate the dose equivalent one of the workers would receive in sieverts, you would need to multiply the dose in grays, by the quality factor.’
    • ‘Thus for these particular radiations the dose equivalent in sieverts is numerically equal to the absorbed dose in grays.’
    • ‘The sievert is numerically equivalent to the gray for electrons and for X-rays irradiating the whole body.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

gray

/ɡreɪ//ɡrā/