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rain

rain, precipitation in liquid form. It consists of drops of water falling from clouds; if the drops are very small, they are collectively termed drizzle. Rain plays a key role in the hydrologic, or water, cycle in which moisture from the oceans evaporates, condenses into clouds, precipitates back to earth, and eventually returns to the ocean via runoff into streams and rivers to begin the cycle again.

Formation of Raindrops

Clouds contain huge numbers of tiny droplets of moisture. Raindrops are formed when these tiny droplets are enlarged, first by moisture from the surrounding air condensing on them and then by coalescing with other droplets during their descent. Raindrops vary in size from about 0.02 in. (0.5 mm) to as much as 0.33 in. (8 mm) in thunderstorms. From the time they leave the bottom of the cloud, evaporation takes place and, if the cloud is high, the air warm and dry, and the raindrops small, so that they fall slowly, they may evaporate completely before they reach the earth. If they do so, the drops are called virga.

Measurement of Rainfall

There are thousands of stations throughout the world where rainfall observations and records are made. Included in such records is the fall of snow, reduced to its equivalent in rain. Rainfall is measured, in terms of inches or millimeters of depth, by means of a simple receptacle-and-gauge apparatus or by more complex electrical or weighing devices placed where eddies of air will not interfere with the normal fall of the raindrops. In addition to the daily, monthly, and annual totals, the depth of individual rainfalls and their intensity (amount of rain falling during a specific period of hours or minutes) and other pertinent facts are recorded.

Distribution of Rainfall

One of the primary elements in climate and a factor of tremendous importance in the distribution of plant and animal life, rainfall varies from less than an inch annually in a desert to more than 400 in. (1,000 cm) where the monsoons strike the Khasi hills in Assam, India, and on the windward slopes of Hawaiian mountains. In the United States the range is from less than 2 in. (5 cm) in Death Valley, Calif., to more than 100 in. (250 cm) on the coast of Washington state; in most of the country the average rainfall is between 15 and 45 in. (38 and 114 cm) annually.

Factors controlling the distribution of rainfall over the earth's surface are the belts of converging-ascending air flow (see doldrums; polar front), air temperature, moisture-bearing winds, ocean currents, distance inland from the coast, and mountain ranges. Ascending air is cooled by expansion, which results in the formation of clouds and the production of rain. Conversely, in the broad belts of descending air (see horse latitudes) are found the great desert regions of the earth, descending air being warmed by compression and consequently absorbing instead of releasing moisture. If the temperature is low, the air has a small moisture capacity and is able to produce little precipitation. When winds blow over the ocean, especially over areas of warm water (where evaporation of moisture into the air is active) toward a given coastal area, that area receives more rainfall than a similar area where the winds blow from the interior toward the oceans. Areas near the sea receive more rain than inland regions, since the winds constantly lose moisture and may be quite dry by the time they reach the interior of a continent.

The windward slopes of mountain ranges generally receive heavy rainfall; the leeward slopes receive almost no rain. The southwest coast of Chile, the west coast of Canada, and the northwest coast of the United States receive much rain because they are struck by the moisture-bearing westerlies from the Pacific and are backed by mountains that force the winds to rise and drop their moisture. The territories immediately east of the regions mentioned are notably dry. See weather.

Rain and Religion

The need for rain at a particular time and the dangers attendant upon drought brought rain prominently into the religion of most agricultural peoples. Rain-gods and thunder-gods are more prominent in many mythologies than sun-gods, and they have been propitiated in various ways in different cultures. The rain dances of the Native Americans may, however, be said to be generally typical of all in the elaborate symbolic gestures and patterns and in the extensive use of drums and rattles (presumably sympathetic magic by imitation of the sounds of thunder and showering rain). Because the purpose is to make the fields bear crops, the connection of such rites with those of fertility is obvious.

Bibliography

See J. Burton and K. Taylor, The Nature and Science of Rain (1997); J. Williams, The Weather Book (2d ed. 1997).

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rain

rain / rān/ • n. moisture condensed from the atmosphere that falls visibly in separate drops: the rain had not stopped for days it's pouring rain. ∎  (rains) falls of rain: the plants were washed away by some unusually heavy rains. ∎  [in sing.] a large or overwhelming quantity of things that fall or descend: he fell under the rain of blows. • v. [intr.] (it rains, it is raining, etc.) rain falls: it was beginning to rain. ∎ poetic/lit. (of the sky, the clouds, etc.) send down rain. ∎  (of objects) fall in large or overwhelming quantities: bombs rained down. ∎  [tr.] (it rains ——, it is raining ——, etc.) used to convey that a specified thing is falling in large or overwhelming quantities: it was just raining glass. ∎  [tr.] send down in large or overwhelming quantities: she rained blows onto him. PHRASES: be as right as rain (of a person) be perfectly fit and well. when it rains it pours see pour. rain cats and dogs rain very hard. rain on someone's parade inf. prevent someone from enjoying an occasion or event; spoil someone's plans. (come) rain or shine whether it rains or not: he runs six miles every morning, rain or shine.PHRASAL VERBS: rain something out (usu. be rained out) cause an event to be terminated or canceled because of rain: the tournament was rained out.DERIVATIVES: rain·less adj. ORIGIN: Old English regn (noun), regnian (verb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch regen and German Regen.

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"rain." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 14 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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rain

rain be as right as rain be perfectly fit and well.
come rain or shine whether it rains or not; whatever the weather.
rain before seven, fine before eleven traditional weather saying, mid 19th century.
rain cats and dogs rain very heavily; the phrase is first recorded in 1738, used by Jonathan Swift, but the variant rain dogs and polecats was used earlier in Richard Brome' The City Witt (1653). The origin is not known, although explanations adduced include a connection with the supernatural (cats were associated with witches, believed to be able to raise storms), as well as the suggestion that in earlier times heavy rain would have resulted in the bodies of drowned dogs and cats floating in the streets and gutters. Cats and dogs are also proverbial for the enmity between them.
rain on someone's parade in North American usage, prevent someone from enjoying an event; spoil someone's plans.
take a rain check said when politely refusing an offer, with the implication that one may take it up at a later date (a rain check is a ticket given for later use when a sporting fixture or other outdoor event is interrupted or postponed by rain).

See also blessed are the dead that the rain rains on, if in February there be no rain, rains, rainy, Saint Swithin's day, if thou be fair.

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Rain

345. Rain

See also 27. ATMOSPHERE ; 85. CLIMATE ; 87. CLOUDS ; 246. LIGHTNING ; 375. SNOW ; 394. THUNDER ; 414. WATER ; 417. WEATHER .

hyetography
the study of the geographical distribution of rainfall by annual totals. hyetographic, hyetographical, adj.
hyetology
Rare. the branch of meteorology that studies rainfall. hyetologist, n. hyetological, adj.
ombrology
the branch of meteorology that studies rain. ombrological, n.
ombrophobia
an abnormal fear of rain.
pluviography
the branch of meteorology that automatically measures rainfall and snowfall. pluviographic, pluviographical, adj.
pluviometry
the branch of meteorology concerned with the measurement of rainfall. pluviometric, pluviometrical, adj.
pluvioscope
an instrument for measuring rainfall; a rain gauge.
pluviosity
raininess. pluvious, adj.
udometry
the measurement of rainfall with any of various types of rain gauges. udometric, adj.
udomograph
a self-registering rain gauge.

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rain

rain Water drops that fall from the Earth's atmosphere to its surface, as opposed to fog or dew which drift as suspensions, and snow or hail which fall as ice particles. Warm air passing over the sea absorbs water vapour and rises in thermal currents, or on reaching a mountain range. The water vapour condenses and forms clouds, which account for the usually heavier annual rainfall on windward, compared to leeward, mountain slopes. See also hydrological cycle; precipitation

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Rain

Rain (Heb., geshem). A recurrent theme in Jewish liturgy (see esp. the tractate Taʿanit), perhaps reflecting the agricultural base of life in the biblical period. It was a mark of the messiah's connection with God that he would mediate rain to the land.

For the rainy season in Buddhism, see VASSA.

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Rain

Rain

the falling or driving of numerous particles; the particles themselves, collectively.

Examples : rain of frogs, 1593; of kisses, 1893; of melody, 1820; of calm moonbeams, 1821; of pearls, 1847; of snow, 1388; of sparks; of tears, 1541.

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rain

rain sb. OE. reġn + OS., OHG. regan (Du., G. regen), ON. regn, Goth. rign; CGmc., but isolated in IE.
So rain vb. OE. reġnian. The comps. rain-bow, -drop, -shower, -water, and rainy are all of OE. age.

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rains

rains it never rains but it pours proverbial saying, early 18th century, meaning that if one thing has gone wrong, worse will follow.

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rain

rainabstain, appertain, arcane, arraign, ascertain, attain, Bahrain, bane, blain, brain, Braine, Cain, Caine, campaign, cane, chain, champagne, champaign, Champlain, Charmaine, chicane, chow mein, cocaine, Coleraine, Coltrane, complain, constrain, contain, crane, Dane, deign, demesne, demi-mondaine, detain, disdain, domain, domaine, drain, Duane, Dwane, Elaine, entertain, entrain, explain, fain, fane, feign, gain, Germaine, germane, grain, humane, Hussein, inane, Jain, Jane, Jermaine, Kane, La Fontaine, lain, lane, legerdemain, Lorraine, main, Maine, maintain, mane, mise en scène, Montaigne, moraine, mundane, obtain, ordain, pain, Paine, pane, pertain, plain, plane, Port-of-Spain, profane, rain, Raine, refrain, reign, rein, retain, romaine, sane, Seine, Shane, Sinn Fein, skein, slain, Spain, Spillane, sprain, stain, strain, sustain, swain, terrain, thane, train, twain, Ujjain, Ukraine, underlain, urbane, vain, vane, vein, Verlaine, vicereine, wain, wane, Wayne •watch chain • mondaine • Haldane •ultramundane • Cellophane •novocaine • sugar cane • marocain

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