Rain

« Back to Terms Index

Rain is the precipitation of liquid water droplets from the atmosphere to the Earth’s surface. It is a crucial component of the water cycle and a vital natural resource that sustains life on our planet.

The formation of rain begins with the evaporation of water from the Earth’s surface, such as oceans, lakes, and vegetation. As the water vapor rises into the atmosphere, it cools and condenses into tiny water droplets that form clouds. When these water droplets become large and heavy enough, they fall back to the Earth’s surface as rain.

The amount and distribution of rainfall vary greatly around the world, depending on factors such as latitude, altitude, and proximity to large bodies of water. Some regions, like the equatorial tropics, experience heavy and consistent rainfall throughout the year, while others, like deserts, receive very little precipitation.

Rainfall plays a crucial role in the Earth’s climate and ecosystems. It replenishes freshwater sources, such as rivers, lakes, and groundwater, which are essential for human consumption, agriculture, and industrial use. Rain also nourishes the growth of plants and supports the diverse array of life in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.

However, too much or too little rainfall can have significant consequences. Excessive rainfall can lead to flooding, which can cause damage to infrastructure, disrupt transportation, and threaten human lives. Conversely, prolonged droughts can result in water scarcity, crop failure, and ecosystem degradation.

Interestingly, rain has also been the subject of cultural and religious beliefs throughout human history. Many ancient civilizations, such as the Sumerians and Akkadians, had mythological explanations for the origin of rain, often associating it with the activities of their deities. Various indigenous cultures around the world have also developed rituals and practices, such as rain dances, to encourage rainfall and ensure the prosperity of their communities.

In modern times, scientists have gained a deeper understanding of the physical processes that govern the formation and distribution of rain. Advances in meteorology and climate science have enabled us to better predict and monitor rainfall patterns, which is crucial for water resource management, agriculture, and disaster preparedness.

Overall, rain is a fundamental aspect of the Earth’s water cycle and a vital resource that sustains life on our planet. Its importance, both practical and cultural, has been recognized by human societies throughout history, and continued research and understanding of this natural phenomenon will be crucial for addressing the challenges posed by climate change and ensuring a sustainable future for all.

  • Rain – Wikipedia: This Wikipedia page provides comprehensive information about rain, including its characteristics, formation, and effects. It also covers topics such as world rainfall extremes, precipitation and storm changes, and the heaviest downpours rise across the U.S.
  • Rain (short story) – Wikipedia: This Wikipedia page is about the short story “Rain” by W. Somerset Maugham. It includes details about the story, its publication history, and its adaptations into various forms of media, such as films and operas.
  • Rain (1932 film) – Wikipedia: This Wikipedia page is dedicated to the 1932 pre-Code drama film “Rain,” starring Joan Crawford as prostitute Sadie Thompson. It provides information about the film’s plot, production, and box office performance.
  • Rain (video game) – Wikipedia: This Wikipedia page is about the video game “Rain,” which takes place in a town loosely inspired by mid-twentieth century Paris. It includes details about the game’s plot, gameplay, and critical reception.

Citations:
[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rain
[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rain_(short_story)
[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rain_(1932_film)
[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rain_(video_game)

Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
rain (noun)
1.
a) water falling in drops condensed from vapor in the atmosphere
b) the descent of this water
c) water that has fallen as rain - rainwater
2.
a) a fall of rain - rainstorm
b) the season - rainy
3.
rainy weather
4.
a heavy fall - a rain of arrows
rain (verb)
intransitive verb
1.
to send down rain
2.
to fall as water in drops from the clouds
3.
transitive verb
to fall like rain - soot and ash rained down
1.
to pour down
2.
to give or administer abundantly - rained blows on his head
Merriam-Webster Online Thesaurus
rain (noun)
1.
a steady falling of water from the sky in significant quantity
SYNONYMS:
cloudburst, deluge, downfall, downpour, rainfall, rainstorm, storm, wet
RELATED WORDS:
precipitation, shower; thundershower, thunderstorm, weather
NEAR ANTONYMS:
drizzle, mist, mizzle, scud, spit, sprinkle
rain (noun)
2.
a heavy fall of objects
SYNONYMS:
hail, shower, storm
RELATED WORDS:
barrage, bombardment, broadside, cannonade, fusillade, salvo, volley; flood, gush, rush, spate, torrent; eruption, outbreak, outburst
rain (verb)
1.
to fall as water in a continuous stream of drops from the clouds
SYNONYMS:
pour, precipitate, storm
RELATED WORDS:
shower; spit; hail, rainsquall, squall; deluge, drown, engulf, flood, inundate, swamp
rain cats and dogs
NEAR ANTONYMS:
drizzle, mist, mizzle, spit, sprinkle
rain (verb)
2.
to give readily and in large quantities
SYNONYMS:
heap, lavish, pour, shower
RELATED WORDS:
gush, stream; flood, inundate, overflow, overwhelm, swamp; bombard, hail
NEAR ANTONYMS:
hold back, keep, reserve, retain, withhold
Rain (Wikipedia)

Rain is water droplets that have condensed from atmospheric water vapor and then fall under gravity. Rain is a major component of the water cycle and is responsible for depositing most of the fresh water on the Earth. It provides water for hydroelectric power plants, crop irrigation, and suitable conditions for many types of ecosystems.

Heavy rainfall on a roof

The major cause of rain production is moisture moving along three-dimensional zones of temperature and moisture contrasts known as weather fronts. If enough moisture and upward motion is present, precipitation falls from convective clouds (those with strong upward vertical motion) such as cumulonimbus (thunder clouds) which can organize into narrow rainbands. In mountainous areas, heavy precipitation is possible where upslope flow is maximized within windward sides of the terrain at elevation which forces moist air to condense and fall out as rainfall along the sides of mountains. On the leeward side of mountains, desert climates can exist due to the dry air caused by downslope flow which causes heating and drying of the air mass. The movement of the monsoon trough, or intertropical convergence zone, brings rainy seasons to savannah climes.

The urban heat island effect leads to increased rainfall, both in amounts and intensity, downwind of cities. Global warming is also causing changes in the precipitation pattern globally, including wetter conditions across eastern North America and drier conditions in the tropics. Antarctica is the driest continent. The globally averaged annual precipitation over land is 715 mm (28.1 in), but over the whole Earth, it is much higher at 990 mm (39 in). Climate classification systems such as the Köppen classification system use average annual rainfall to help differentiate between differing climate regimes. Rainfall is measured using rain gauges. Rainfall amounts can be estimated by weather radar.

Rain (Wiktionary)

English

Pronunciation

  • enPR: rān, IPA(key): /ɹeɪn/
  • Rhymes: -eɪn
  • Homophones: reign, rein

Etymology 1

From Middle English reyn, rein, from Old English reġn, from Proto-West Germanic *regn, from Proto-Germanic *regną (compare West Frisian rein, Dutch regen, German Regen, Danish and Norwegian regn), of uncertain origin.

« Back to Terms Index