Definition of rain in US English:



  • 1Moisture condensed from the atmosphere that falls visibly in separate drops.

    ‘the rain had not stopped for days’
    ‘it's pouring rain’
    • ‘The Pyrenees are famous for their capricious showers, which pour rain and hail on one mountainside while another is bathed in sunlight.’
    • ‘Almost as if imitating me, a large rumble of thunder echoed throughout the sky and large drops of rain began to fall, hard.’
    • ‘It was odd that not too far away, it was probably pouring rain, while it was humid and sunny where Kace stood.’
    • ‘He looked up at the sky, and several more drops of rain fell on his face.’
    • ‘Sure enough it began to drizzle rain followed with a downpour.’
    • ‘Only pouring rain will stop me lighting a grill and cooking my kebabs in the open air, and it would probably take a hailstorm to prevent me from having breakfast in the garden.’
    • ‘The wintry weather took on freakish proportions with torrential rain turning to sideways sleet as the blustery wind continued to create havoc.’
    • ‘Before long, heavy drops of rain began to pour on the barren landscape.’
    • ‘Weather effects like sand storms or heavy rain and snowfall shorten your units' line of sight and cut their air supply.’
    • ‘Turning over, I saw rain falling in heavy drops outside of my window.’
    • ‘Winter storms normally bring ordinary rain, freezing rain and sleet as well as snow.’
    • ‘Soon she felt the first drops of rain begin to fall, and within minutes she was soaked to the skin, her hair clinging heavily to her neck and back.’
    • ‘The skies opened up and the cool September rain poured down in deluge upon the armory at Teaneck.’
    • ‘Pulled low on their heads were baseball caps; the constant drizzle of rain pouring off of the rims.’
    • ‘It poured with rain continually; there were floods in the north of the country.’
    • ‘The whole of the previous week had been glorious weather and then, yesterday, the temperature had dropped right down and freezing rain had poured down from the skies.’
    • ‘His hair and clothes were getting soaked as rain poured in through a large hole where part of the doors had been torn off.’
    • ‘The hurricane is lashing the Florida Keys with torrential rain and storm surges now.’
    • ‘He said that it had been pouring with rain, there were thunder storms, and the tents designed for desert use were leaking and soaking wet through.’
    • ‘Bursts of fire would occasionally blossom, only to be later doused by a massive down pour of rain.’
    rainfall, precipitation, raindrops, rainwater, wet weather
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    1. 1.1rains Falls of rain.
      ‘the plants were washed away by some unusually heavy rains’
      • ‘During climate extremes, whether droughts or flooding rains, those on the land feel it most.’
      • ‘The city's distinct terrain makes it particularly vulnerable to the storm surges, heavy rains and high winds of a hurricane.’
      • ‘The Eastern Province Agricultural Union president welcomed the good rains which had fallen throughout the province.’
      • ‘Exceptionally good rains fell once more in 1889 giving much needed hope to farmers who had survived until that time.’
      • ‘Fall rains are sometimes unpredictable, even in the wettest climates.’
      • ‘The heavy rains over the past week continue to cause doubts about yet another summer like last year.’
      • ‘La Niña dominated the period 1973-75, and the unusual rains continued.’
      • ‘The drought loosened its grip in the southeastern States in November, and more emphatically so in January 1941, when heavy rains fell.’
      • ‘A high precipitation super-cell produces very heavy rains, large hail, downbursts and tornadoes.’
      • ‘Full rivers and overflowing dams have been reported in the northern region of the province as rains continue to fall.’
      • ‘Fall rains were scant, but of some benefit to a few farmers.’
      • ‘The climate varies greatly from north to south, but rains fall throughout the country from December to April.’
      • ‘This generated frequent heavy rains and fierce westerly gales: in some coastal areas there was significant wind damage as well as flooding.’
      • ‘Heavy earth-moving equipment sent in to clear the mudflows are failing to make headway as torrential rains continue to fall in the region.’
      • ‘After their spring resurrection, they abound in temporary bodies of water left by the previous fall's rains and by melting snow.’
      • ‘These provinces have the best rainfall, but steep gradients and poor farming ensure that, when rains do fall, rivers run brown.’
      • ‘In July 1870 very heavy rains fell flooding many of the creeks and nearly twenty Aborigines drowned when the Kopperamanna Creek flooded.’
      • ‘Good general rains fell in 1996, easing the situation until the onset of the next El Niño in 1997.’
      • ‘It may also be possible to reduce cloud cover by seeding clouds to cause rains to fall in areas where the water is needed.’
      • ‘It's that time of year - as March rains continue to fall - when many people start finalising plans for their summer holidays.’
      rains, drizzle, damp weather, rainy weather, showery weather, wet weather, precipitation, spray, dew, damp
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    2. 1.2in singular A large or overwhelming quantity of things that fall or descend.
      ‘he fell under the rain of blows’
      • ‘At that point, a rain of fire and bullets hit us, shutting up forever the cheerful voices of a few minutes earlier.’
      • ‘Under a constant rain of enemy fire, my plane is hit again and again.’
      • ‘The city motorway towards the south was transformed into a field of rubble by a rain of dust and bricks, which damaged numerous cars and injured their drivers.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Most of them don't make past a few feet, knocked off by a constant rain of debris, but it is only a matter of time before some begin to reach the summit.’
      • ‘And then there is Tessie, taking the rain of abuse and indignities with long-suffering resignation.’
      • ‘An expression might give way to a rain of thoughts.’
      • ‘If you're close enough, the first sound is that of an earsplitting blast and the sounds that follow are of a rain of glass, shrapnel and other sharp things.’
      • ‘She ran out of the shroud of dust and towards the helicopters while dodging the rain of bullets that came behind.’
      • ‘The Cityboys formed a rough circle, ignoring the rain of lead that fell on them from above.’
      • ‘I suppose Jin thinks I am a weeping waif, looking for a poor soul to shed her troubles on in a rain of sobs and runny noses.’
      • ‘Few of us walk into the office to a rain of boos or are subjected nightly to the possibility of public failure and humiliation.’
      • ‘Within moments, all ran for cover as a rain of debris began falling.’
      • ‘During the second day of competition, the rain of gold medals continued.’
      • ‘She gave him a pleading look that he answered with a rain of kisses.’
      • ‘Her eyes popped in surprise as a rain of sparks cascaded from my hair.’
      • ‘Everyone hung their heads in reverence, and awaited the moment when the rain of meteors would came down.’
      • ‘Our planet is incessantly bombarded with a rain of cosmic rays, charged stable particles, such as protons and electrons.’
      • ‘Then comes a rain of law suits - he is suing people for a hundred million rupees.’
      • ‘This year, he received a strong response from his fans, but nothing like the rain of adulation he generated last year.’
      shower, deluge, flood, torrent, spate, avalanche, outpouring, rush, flurry
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[no object]it rains", "it is raining, etc.
  • 1Rain falls.

    ‘it was beginning to rain’
    • ‘Being six foot two is not a good thing when it rains - you constantly run the risk of an umbrella jabbing into your neck or, worse, eye.’
    • ‘The best time to see the problem is when it is raining.’
    • ‘It had stopped raining and clouds had cleared showing the sky's spectacular show of sparkling lights.’
    • ‘It is easiest to check for leaks and blockages when it is raining.’
    • ‘If it is raining out, most drivers will not pick you up, because they don't want a wet person in their car.’
    • ‘Now, a road makes the climb easier, but if it is raining or snowing, you still need some luck getting there.’
    • ‘I worked in Lancashire for a few years, and in my first January there it rained every day.’
    • ‘It was fantastic to be living there, apart from the fact it rained all week.’
    • ‘I hope it is raining when you are reading this column because I will be lying on a beach in Salou this week.’
    • ‘Horses cannot be expected to play at their best when it rains every third day.’
    • ‘Water comes through the windows when it is raining.’
    • ‘There is no electric display telling you of the next station, but you do get a cheery conductor who can criticise the beautiful morning, when it is raining.’
    • ‘When air gets hot it rises, it turns into clouds and it starts raining.’
    • ‘As usual the forecast was wrong and it rained all day but despite this, we had a very good time.’
    • ‘Here in the Washington, D.C. area, the weather has turned cold and 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.’
    • ‘Summer ended today - yesterday I nearly wore my shorts out, and now it is raining outside and cold.’
    • ‘I fought in the snow barefoot to give you the freedom to vote and you stay at home because it rains.’
    • ‘Today it is raining and dark and well, not cold exactly, but I am wearing long pants and a jersey.’
    • ‘Rainy season really started with a vengeance today, so the walk to the station was a little damp as it was raining and humid.’
    pour, pour down, pelt down, tip down, teem down, beat down, lash down, sheet down, come down, come down in sheets, come down in torrents, rain cats and dogs
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    1. 1.1literary (of the sky, the clouds, etc.) send down rain.
      • ‘It was an overcast day, the light hidden behind grey clouds that smothered the sky and threatened to rain.’
      • ‘I kept staring up, my head bent back and stared as the smoky gray clouds rained on me.’
      • ‘The skies thundered and rained, and its color was a combination of what seemed to be every color known to man.’
      • ‘I have an image of my house with a small cloud continuously raining over it like the house where the Munster's lived.’
      • ‘Farther away, they could see a low patch of clouds in the sky that was raining.’
    2. 1.2with adverbial of direction (of objects) fall in large or overwhelming quantities.
      ‘bombs rained down’
      • ‘He scrambled to lie flat on his stomach in the car while shards of debris rained from the skies.’
      • ‘The bombs will still be raining down there and terrified people on leaky boats will still be arriving.’
      • ‘The sun was hot by now, the wind had become brisk, and the melting edges sent mini-avalanches of gravel raining down.’
      • ‘As the fighting factions are physically restrained, the verbal blows rain down harder than ever.’
      • ‘He yelled at her while bullets were still raining down on him.’
      • ‘Blows rained down on me from all sides and I fell to the floor under a merciless avalanche of abuse.’
      • ‘A brass band played and confetti rained over the site after workers poured the last batch of concrete.’
      • ‘Trapped Rafah residents huddled in the innermost rooms of their homes as bullets rained outside.’
      • ‘The waiting drivers clap and cheer appreciatively, ducking the occasional piece of burning debris raining from the sky.’
      • ‘But then the ship bucked as missiles rained from above.’
      • ‘He began stomping his feet on the floor sending plaster raining down on the man and the woman.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Fearing the worst, the victim curled into a ball to try to protect himself from the blows raining on him.’
      • ‘As we speak, people are forced to deal with our government in the form of bombs raining down on their homes.’
      • ‘No one knows the total number, but upwards of 2000 Afghans fleeing the bombs and missiles raining down inside their country have come here.’
      • ‘It was November 19, 1940, and the bombs rained down for hours and hours.’
      • ‘Unlike Kuiper belt comets, Oort cloud comets can rain down on the inner solar system from any angle and any direction.’
      • ‘With bombs raining down about their heads and millions fighting on the battlefield, our grandparents knew where they were.’
      • ‘As the bombs rained down I instinctively dropped to ground, the kids immediately followed suit.’
      • ‘Bombs burst from above like rolling cracks of thunder as shrapnel rained down from the sky, expended from death black clouds.’
      fall, pour down, rain down, drop, shower
      shower, pour, drop
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    3. 1.3it rains —", "it is raining —, etc.with object Used to convey that a specified thing is falling in large or overwhelming quantities.
      ‘it was just raining glass’
      • ‘This night couldn't get any better if it rained rubies and diamonds.’
      • ‘Above was nothing, but a pale pink glow even as it rained flowers.’
      • ‘Along with the gusty winds, torrential rains and the punishing power shutdowns, it rained snakes of all sizes and colours on the city.’
      • ‘There were also outfits that let them kick their heels up ‘when it's raining men’.’
      • ‘I guess it was raining men in that decade of my mind.’
      • ‘It looks like it's raining crayons, as I wait for my elevator to arrive.’
      • ‘After decades of drought, it seems it is raining democracy in this region.’
    4. 1.4with object Send down in large or overwhelming quantities.
      ‘she rained blows onto him’
      • ‘I could imagine these planes swooping on the city raining down missiles and bombs on dictator and his followers.’
      • ‘As the rebels rain mortar bombs tens of thousands of people have been sent fleeing to various parts of the city perceived to be safe.’
      • ‘Nobody has been left more shaken than a teenage girl woken from her sleep by the sounds of blows being rained on a man outside her home.’
      • ‘A security guard has told a jury how blows were rained on him by a robber who made off with £40,000 cash.’
      • ‘Instantly the roles were reversed as Bjorn dove upon Sten, moving to pin Sten's arms with his legs as he rained blows down on his opponent's with both fists.’
      • ‘Who can forget the napalm bombs that rained terror on the refugee camps around the city when scouts resolved to strike at the source of enemy fire?’
      • ‘What better way to give the powers that be an excuse to rain nightstick blows on the heads of the vast majority of us who believe in non violent protest action?’
      • ‘Petrol bombs, paint bombs and blast bombs were rained down on officers and many surrounding towns.’
      • ‘An elderly couple who fought off a gang of masked robbers at their home say they feared for their lives as the attackers rained blows on them with baseball bats.’
      • ‘The store's staff and customers looked on in horror as the man rained repeated blows upon the boy during the sustained attack.’
      • ‘The CCTV images show him desperately trying to defend himself as blows are rained down on his head by a man wielding a 4ft pickaxe handle.’
      • ‘He rained blows down upon the door, and told her he'd be back.’
      • ‘Customers queueing at a nearby chip shop prevented the motorist being more seriously injured by the man after rushing to help as blows were rained on his head and body.’
      • ‘Connolly rained his heaviest blows on those judges he identified as hacks for corrupt political machines.’
      • ‘Pupils got a very visual display of the armour's strength as blow after blow was rained down on chest plates.’
      • ‘At the same time, he rained kicks and blows down upon it, tears streaming down his cheeks.’
      • ‘But they became the targets for the suicide bomber, as more rebels rained mortar bombs on to the scene.’


  • be as right as rain

    • (of a person) be perfectly fit and well.

  • rain cats and dogs

    • Rain very hard.

      • ‘It had been raining cats and dogs from morning and they must have known before hand that the wet weather posed a danger of shock or slipping on stage.’
      • ‘No kind of threats, cajoling or convincing can get a line-man to scamper up an electric post or poke at a blown fuse when it is raining cats and dogs.’
      • ‘I already told you it was raining cats and dogs and I'm worried that the computer is going to crash or that the power is going to go off.’
      • ‘It might rain cats and dogs during the few monsoon days of the city, but water supply during summer months is still a suspect issue.’
      • ‘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 just started raining cats and dogs, so I doesn't look like I'll be going anytime soon.’
      • ‘It was raining cats and dogs, and my bike had died on me.’
      • ‘‘It'll be raining cats and dogs in a minute ‘she muttered to herself.’’
      • ‘‘Thank goodness we're not out there,’ said Tom, hugging his knees to his chest, ‘its raining cats and dogs in the city!’’
      • ‘‘It was dry an hour before the race, and then the skies opened up and it rained cats and dogs,’ Kim told them a few minutes after the race.’
      pour, pour down, pelt down, tip down, teem down, beat down, lash down, sheet down, come down, come down in sheets, come down in torrents, rain cats and dogs
      View synonyms
  • rain on someone's parade

    • informal Prevent someone from enjoying an occasion or event; spoil someone's plans.

      • ‘I hate to rain on your parade, Sadie, but have you thought about the fact that maybe you just want him because you can't have him now?’
      • ‘‘You look like someone just rained on your parade,’ Bianca said, hugging me.’
      • ‘We're not raining on your parade just because it's illegal; it's also dangerous for your computer.’
      • ‘Your guesswork is wrong, and I don't mean to rain on your parade, but it is.’
      • ‘Unfortunately several things can go wrong to rain on your parade.’
      • ‘Well, Dawnie, I don't want to rain on your parade, but isn't it kind of a lot at once?’
      • ‘The space agency is anxiously awaiting its first manned flight in two and a half years, but will weather rain on NASA's parade?’
      • ‘You just seemed so enthusiastic about the whole thing, and I didn't want to rain on your 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.’
      • ‘I hate to rain on your parade, but I don't think your analysis of the red cell photos in your July 22 commentary is correct.’
  • (come) rain or shine

    • Whether it rains or not.

      ‘he runs six miles every morning, rain or shine’
      • ‘Activities will be going down all day, rain or shine, and there will be plenty of opportunities to chow down on wild boar sausages, haggis, Irish stew and many other Celtic fun foods.’
      • ‘We went to school, rain or shine, and the school didn't shut down, either.’
      • ‘Every Thursday morning, come rain or shine, she arrives at the Congregational Hall to help keep about 20 youngsters safe, happy and entertained.’
      • ‘They play every Sunday morning, rain or shine, often getting more people out playing when the weather's bad than good.’
      • ‘Come rain or shine, wind or hail, there has been a steaming cup of fresh coffee waiting to spur postmen on their dawn deliveries around Scarborough seafront each morning since 1946.’
      • ‘Nearly 100 years old, Wanderlust meets a few times a month on different paths and trails, traversing the city's unique landscape rain or shine.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Come rain or shine, Ballinakill outdoor heated swimming pool continues to attract swimming enthusiasts.’
      • ‘Every Wednesday, rain or shine, a minimal cover charge allows you to support local and regional musicians while enjoying a lazy summer evening in picturesque settings.’
      • ‘He found it amusing to see people rush throughout their daily lives and hardly stop to appreciate the day, weather rain or shine.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • be rained out

    • (of an event) be terminated or canceled because of rain.

      ‘the tournament was rained out’
      • ‘The program tomorrow is probably going to be rained out, so he won't have to play Saturday.’
      • ‘Matches that get rained out on one weekend will be played the following week.’
      • ‘I didn't know at the time that the ballgame was rained out.’
      • ‘We went to an amazing backyard pool at dusk only to be severely rained out.’
      • ‘The event was originally scheduled for last Sunday, but was rained out.’
      • ‘And cricket was rained out again on Saturday.’
      • ‘Lets hope that doesn't get rained out.’
      • ‘The game on April 8 was rained out.’
      • ‘This is the third consecutive game in the series that has been rained out.’
      • ‘If the game had been rained out before the fifth inning, it would have to be replayed in its entirety.’


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