Main definitions of ray in US English:

: ray1ray2ray3

ray1

noun

  • 1Each of the lines in which light (and heat) may seem to stream from the sun or any luminous body, or pass through a small opening.

    ‘a ray of sunlight came through the window’
    • ‘I can't move, I'm so enraptured by the way the last luminous rays of light dance over his glowing skin.’
    • ‘The first rays of light that passed her eyelids were very dim.’
    • ‘There was a slight ray of moonlight visible far above his head.’
    • ‘The sun was low in the sky as the soft, warm rays hit her from the east.’
    • ‘This means rays of light passing through will bend toward the center of the lens on entry.’
    • ‘He raises the crown into the golden rays of summer sunshine streaming through the windows.’
    • ‘Light rays pass through the cornea and the lens and focus on the retina.’
    • ‘She saw the first rays of sunlight push their way up from the horizon, and sighed.’
    • ‘The sun was out and Cay could feel its warm rays touching his back.’
    • ‘The rays of dawn were tipping over the horizon.’
    • ‘Stunningly beautiful golden rays of sunlight crested the horizon and he smiled at the warmth.’
    • ‘The bright rays of sunshine streaming through her window were not at all comforting to her.’
    • ‘The shadow moved forward into view, the moon's rays shining dimly upon it.’
    • ‘His hair was of a brilliant blond mingled with the rays of silver moonlight.’
    • ‘Through studying the transformation of light rays passing through glass objects, he created the effect of movement of form.’
    • ‘The sun is out now, and the floors are lit by the rays streaming though the window.’
    • ‘A Camera Obscura is when an inverted image is created by rays of light passing through a pinhole into a dark space.’
    • ‘She stopped when she saw the first ray of sunshine on the ground of the cave.’
    • ‘The stars were glimmering across the night sky and the moon's rays shone upon her.’
    • ‘Through the breaks in the trees, Jocelyn could see the moon's ray shining down to the forest floor.’
    beam, shaft, streak, bar, pencil, finger, stream, gleam, flash, glint, glimmer, flicker, twinkle, shimmer
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 The straight line in which light or other electromagnetic radiation travels to a given point.
      • ‘This was the approach of geometrical optics, which treated light as moving in straight line rays which were reflected or refracted according to simple rules.’
      • ‘A light ray grazing the surface under those circumstances is bent, or refracted, upward.’
      • ‘Instead of taking an algebraic approach, however, Halton used a shortcut inspired by the geometry of paths traced by rays of light.’
      • ‘The easiest way to describe light rays and light cones is through geometric optics.’
      • ‘Mirrors, spherical or otherwise, operate on the principle that the angle of reflection of a ray of light equals the angle at which it strikes the mirror's surface.’
    2. 1.2rayswith adjective A specified form of nonluminous radiation.
      ‘water reflects and intensifies UV rays’
      • ‘The ozone layer protects the Earth's surface from the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays.’
      • ‘Telescopes designed to collect and focus X rays from space provide that vision.’
      • ‘Look for one that promises to shield you from a broad spectrum of ultraviolet rays.’
      • ‘The shock heats the material in the shell to temperatures over 1 million degrees, producing bright X rays.’
      • ‘Lights that are used for SAD phototherapy must filter out harmful UV rays.’
      • ‘A whole day of radiation of ultraviolet rays even kills the most resistant of germs.’
      • ‘They are produced in the atmosphere by the interaction of galactic cosmic rays with the atoms of the atmosphere.’
      • ‘But even more important is that it absorbs carcinogenic ultra-violet rays and electromagnetic radiation.’
      • ‘The gluten also shields the helpful microbes from the sun's lethal ultraviolet rays.’
      • ‘However, the longer wavelength rays of ultraviolet light can also cause problems.’
      • ‘During the initial nuclear radiation mostly Gamma rays are emitted from the fireball.’
      • ‘The sun emits visible light, heat, ultraviolet rays, radio waves, and X-rays.’
      • ‘Gamma rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation, just like visible light or x rays, but with a much higher energy.’
      • ‘The HESS project deals with the detection, measuring and interpretation of high-energy cosmic rays.’
      • ‘Not while the earth was constantly being bombarded by cosmic rays from interstellar space.’
      • ‘Surprisingly, x rays do not penetrate Earth's atmosphere, so astronomers must place x-ray telescopes in space.’
      • ‘Also, some products block UVB rays, but not harmful UVA rays.’
      • ‘For sunglasses, oversized Aviators are essential to block UV rays and look cool.’
      • ‘The radioactive glucose emits gamma rays which are then detected by the scanner.’
      • ‘Water is passed through a disinfecting chamber containing a quartz mercury lamp that emits ultraviolet light rays.’
    3. 1.3raysNorth American informal Sunlight considered in the context of sunbathing.
      ‘Sarah's catching some rays on a beach in Cruz Bay’
      • ‘A guided hike in the morning which climbs out of the village is on offer as is the chance to catch some rays at the nearby lake.’
      • ‘Two researchers specializing in the psychology of health say they've found a more productive way to wean sun worshipers from catching some rays.’
      • ‘They like to spend a lot of their time sunning themselves, so perfect opportunity up here, up the top on a sunny day to catch some rays.’
      • ‘Midmountain, Sunshine Grill's deck lets you catch some rays over a burger or chili.’
      • ‘Before heading out to catch some rays, take a look at your checklist.’
      • ‘After some glorious lazy afternoons catching rays, taking dips and grabbing soft cones… summer s over.’
      • ‘I was there five days, so got to know the soldiers who guarded me when I was fishing or just catching some rays, and the wives who were always bringing me fruit or a Coca-Cola.’
      • ‘Sun, wind, sea and salt may have left their mark on hair that enjoyed days at the beach, in the pool or catching some rays.’
      • ‘Find out about the villa's position and orientation so you know that you do not have go to the beach in order to catch some rays.’
      • ‘So let's head on down to that booth you were talking about and then catch some rays.’
    4. 1.4 An initial or slight indication of a positive or welcome quality in a time of difficulty or trouble.
      ‘if only I could see some ray of hope’
      • ‘Events in Europe offered Japan a delusory ray of hope.’
      • ‘‘The only ray of hope we had was the anchor rope,’ said Mr. Podiyan.’
      • ‘A ray of hope appears in the form of Mary Burke, the daughter of a heart attack victim who strikes a chord with the troubled Pierce.’
      • ‘The commissioners comment, ‘This witness was a fresh and welcome ray of hope for the Tribunal.’’
      • ‘But when we talked, there was a small ray of hope.’
      • ‘Shehnaz held her daughter's hand tightly lest destiny snatch her only child - the sole ray of hope in her otherwise gloomy life.’
      • ‘Although the concrete result of the proposal has yet to be seen, it nevertheless sparks a ray of hope for a peaceful solution in the troubled region.’
      • ‘The ray of hope in this is the age of the author.’
      • ‘"I hope the success of our expedition will lend a ray of hope to our people who are discouraged in their daily lives."’
      • ‘The President's farewell speech was a ray of hope.’
      • ‘In this ruling Kelly found a definite ray of hope.’
      • ‘Some tenants felt Christmas would not generate big profit margins for them, but others saw a ray of hope with a late-buying binge.’
      • ‘That's a ray of good news for the town of Steinhatchee.’
      • ‘Most of all I feel really needed all of a sudden; I feel I can bring a slight ray of hope and variety to this ever more depressing world.’
      • ‘At a time of continuous high unemployment, particularly in South Australia, statements like these were more than welcome and gave just a ray of hope.’
      • ‘Faded Seaside Glamour was released in the winter, but brought rays of hope to grey, cold Britain.’
      • ‘One ray of hope is that the circumstances of the attack would give the Socialist Party a possible excuse for flip-flopping were they so inclined.’
      • ‘There's a bright ray of sanity on the Los Angeles Times op-ed page.’
      • ‘And what about ‘justice is not a function of power, but rather the ray of goodness that is one's salvation’?’
      • ‘But Dean's impressive fundraising operation offers a ray of hope.’
      glimmer, flicker, spark, glint, trace, hint, indication, suggestion, sign, scintilla, whisper
      View synonyms
  • 2Mathematics
    Any of a set of straight lines passing through one point.

    • ‘It is always wise to make a sketch of the system, including the ray bundles for the on-axis and off-axis imagery.’
    • ‘All coding elements redirect light so that no ray, besides the on-axis ray, travels toward the traditional geometric focus point.’
  • 3A thing that is arranged radially.

    • ‘Species of Orbiculopylorum are always characterized by an outer part that is definitely separated from the inner part, and the two parts are connected mainly by internal rays.’
    • ‘It possesses six rays; the apical rays are long and curved.’
    • ‘Most living echinoderms, like this sand dollar from Baja California, are pentameral; that is, they have fivefold symmetry, with rays or arms in fives or multiples of five.’
    • ‘Traces of thorns can be observed on the surface of the distal part of all rays.’
    • ‘In green swordtails, the sword consists of a set of ventral fin rays that extend posteriorly beyond the caudal fin margin.’
    • ‘These rays have no relation to anything in the vertebrate limb.’
    • ‘For example, it is possible that cellular turnover contributes to outgrowth of the fin ray.’
    • ‘All rays of the outwardly placed spicules are well developed.’
    • ‘Clinids tend to have more spines than rays on the dorsal fin, which usually begins close to the head.’
    1. 3.1Botany (in a composite flower head of the daisy family) an array of ray florets arranged radially around the central disc, forming the white part of the flower head of a daisy.
      • ‘In the vascular tissue of woody species, parenchyma cells include those in phloem, and the ray cells and axial parenchyma cells in xylem.’
      • ‘The resin canal itself was excluded from fusiform rays.’
      • ‘A yellow ray of flowers appears on a long fleshy hollow stem.’
      • ‘The majority of the rays of the spicules are arranged radially and in a plane.’
      • ‘Parenchyma rays occur throughout the xylem and phloem cells.’
    2. 3.2Zoology Each of the long, slender bony protuberances supporting the fins of most bony fishes.
      • ‘The first dorsal fin has four rays, the lips are smooth and are roughly the same thickness as the diameter of the eye.’
      • ‘One of the most prominent characteristics of early vertebrates is the elongate caudal fin bearing fin rays.’
      • ‘The dorsal fin has 13 spines and 10 soft rays and the anal fin has 7 spines and 10 soft rays.’
      • ‘Two to three scales bear a pore behind the inversion line until the lateral line ends at a caudal fin ray.’
      • ‘The pelvic fin usually consists of a spine on each side and one fin ray.’
      • ‘The dorsal and pectoral fins have hard spines whereas the other rays are soft like the anal and caudal fins.’
      • ‘Second, in most basal ray-finned fishes such as sturgeon and trout a single dorsal fin is present and is supported by flexible fin rays.’
    3. 3.3Zoology Each radial arm of a starfish.
      • ‘The sequence and pattern of development of supernumerary rays differs among multiradiate starfish.’

verb

  • 1no object, with adverbial of direction Spread from or as if from a central point.

    ‘delicate lines rayed out at each corner of her eyes’
    • ‘The battleships ray out over the North Sea, keeping their stations accurately apart.’
    • ‘So he went to where a single blackthorn limb spired above a briary thicket, rayed with fine spikes.’
    spread out, fan out, radiate out
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1literary with object and adverbial of direction Radiate (light)
      ‘the sun rays forth its natural light into the air’

Phrases

  • ray of sunshine

    • informal A person or thing that brings happiness into the lives of others.

      • ‘Although you may sometimes resent the pressure of being everybody's muse or ray of sunshine, you try not to let it show.’
      • ‘But compared to Ann, Joanna's a ray of sunshine.’
      • ‘They joined her brave father Aleksas Chmieliauskas, 56, and two young children, in paying respects to a woman remembered as a ray of sunshine, who's beaming smile raised the spirits of all around her.’
      • ‘If you're tired of tripping over your rug rat, why not get out of the house for a few hours with your little ray of sunshine by visiting Little Tots Playgroup on Chapel Hill?’
      • ‘As P G Wodehouse famously commented in Blandings Castle: ‘It is never difficult to distinguish between a Scotsman with a grievance and a ray of sunshine.’’
      • ‘She is a ray of sunshine who brightens our lives, and many others I am sure.’
      • ‘One of these others was a friend of Rick's, a 50-something former dancer who could better be described as a ray of sunshine, George Ramos.’
      • ‘Kenny Anthony, with his freshly acquired movie-star public persona, was as a ray of sunshine to the inexplicably depressing atmosphere.’
      • ‘Cathy said: ‘Shannon was a little star and our little ray of sunshine.’’
      • ‘Scottish fiction, for all its manifest and manifold qualities, is not blessed with many rays of sunshine.’

Origin

Middle English: from Old French rai, based on Latin radius ‘spoke, ray’. The verb dates from the late 16th century.

Pronunciation

ray

/reɪ//rā/

Main definitions of ray in US English:

: ray1ray2ray3

ray2

noun

  • A broad flat marine or freshwater fish with a cartilaginous skeleton, winglike pectoral fins, and a long slender tail. Many rays have venomous spines or electric organs.

    Order Batiformes: several families, including Rajidae (the skates)

    • ‘And it doesn't get much more unusual than having mantra rays and starfish witnessing your wedding day.’
    • ‘Otoliths range in size from one-tenth of an inch to one inch long and are found in the heads of all fishes except sharks, lampreys and rays.’
    • ‘Participants will dive amidst one of Europe's largest collection of sharks, as well as 2000 other fish, rays and conger eels.’
    • ‘Moving on to the southern end of Koh Pi, these two fishermen landed two 5 lb queen fish, a sand ray and a barracuda.’
    • ‘They had caught a manta ray and said it was good eating.’
    • ‘On average fully half of the animals caught on long lines can't be sold and are thrown away - manta rays, sea lions, sea birds.’
    • ‘The freshwater sawfish, a ray, is related to stingrays, skates, sharks, and other fishes with cartilaginous skeletons.’
    • ‘Whale sharks, manta rays and even grey whales are almost common.’
    • ‘Turning, we saw a spotted eagle ray descend the reef wall and glide over the plateau.’
    • ‘Like other rays and sharks, sawfish grow slowly, mature late, and have only a few young.’
    • ‘Thus, the tails of rays may develop barbs & stingers, with or without toxic secretions.’
    • ‘Groupers, jacks and barracuda seek refuge in the wrecks, while large marble rays cruise the sandy flats.’
    • ‘But such incidents are not common, he says - fishers usually cut their lines to allow the venomous rays to swim away.’
    • ‘The large lagoon and break in the reef attract many species, including dugongs, whale sharks, dolphins and manta rays.’
    • ‘Thornback and blond rays are most often seen, with brill, plaice, sole, flounder and even turbot on occasion.’
    • ‘On the second dive we spot a manta ray and an enormous grouper.’
    • ‘Tropical fish haunt its few coral reefs, and whale sharks and giant Pacific manta rays feed on its plankton.’
    • ‘No plankton means no basking sharks or manta rays but it also means exceedingly good visibility.’
    • ‘Meanwhile a manta ray passed overhead like a modern stealth bomber.’
    • ‘Even the migration pattern of species such as whale sharks, manta rays, turtles and whales has a bearing on when to go.’

Origin

Middle English: from Old French raie, from Latin raia.

Pronunciation

ray

/reɪ//rā/

Main definitions of ray in US English:

: ray1ray2ray3

ray3

noun

  • variant of re

Pronunciation

ray

/reɪ//rā/