Rain is a term used to describe the precipitation of liquid water from the solution of the air. Generally, raindrops have diametres of approximately 0.5mm. Smaller droplets are referred to, informally, as drizzle.

On average, rain conists of about 100 to 1000 drops per cubic metre. Smaller droplets are generally more numerous than larger ones; this maintains a more constant rate of water per unit time. The cohesion of water is such that droplets of up to 4mm in size can be maintained, larger ones are unstable and short lived.

Rain is catagorized by meteorologists in accordance with its rate of fall. Heavy rain is classified as more than 7.6mm per hour; light rain is classified as less than 2.5mm per hour.

The most rained on point on Earth is Mount Waialeale in Hawaii. In the last 20 years it has received an average of 11 700 mm of rain. Areas with more than 1 500mm of rain are considered very wet, and those that receive less than 250mm are considered quite dry.

Rainfall is distributed quite unevenly over the surface of the Earth, with equatorial desert regions and Antarctica receiving a very small percentage of the total and temperate and tropical rainforests receiving copious quantities.

Over most of Europe, South America, eastern North America, and central Africa, the annual rainfall exceeds 500 mm (20 inches), while over most of Asia, excluding India, Tibet, and China, the annual rainfall is less than 500 mm, being less than 250 mm in a long tongue extending from Arabia across to northeast Mongolia. The central regions of Australia, most of northern and a part of southwest Africa, portions of the intermontane area of the United States, and portions of the west-central coast and southern east coast of South America also have less than 250 mm of rain in the year. Portions of the western coast of Africa, between the Equator and 10° N, a strip of the western coast of India, parts of Assam, a coastal strip of Myanmar (Burma), windward mountain slopes in the temperate latitudes of North and South America, and many isolated tropical stations average more than 2,500 mm of rain in the year. Rainfall intensities greater than 30 mm in five minutes, 150 mm in one hour, or 500 mm per day are quite rare, but these intensities on occasion have been more than doubled for the respective durations.

Source: CIA Annual World Factbook
Just statistics, no copyrights, don't worry.

One of the best ways to start to explain the rain is a quote from St. Augustine, on the subject of time: "I know exactly what it is, until I try to explain it." Rain could simply be described as water that falls from the sky, but that is both inadequate, and also untrue: pure water, by itself, can not form rain. And some of the other things that fall with that rain, while minute, have gigantic long term consequences.

The first step in the formation of rain is evaporation, which mostly happens over the oceans, where most of the water of our planet exists. Due to both convective or radiative heating, water molecules near the top of the ocean gain enough energy to bounce into the atmosphere. These molecules are water vapor, which has a technical meaning: each molecule of water is alone, not bound to other molecules of water. In common parlance, mist might be called a "vapor", but the droplets of water in mist, although small by our standards, are still gigantic by molecular standards. True water vapor is different. In "dry" air, that is, air with no liquid water in it, there can still be quite a bit of water vapor. A typical cubic meter of air, which weights about 2 kilograms, can hold 10 grams of water vapor. Actually, it can hold quite a bit more or less than that, depending on temperature and pressure, but 10 grams is a good spherical cow to use. Using the magical power of the cube, a cubic kilometer of air has 1 billion cubic meters, meaning that in a perfectly clear, dry day, there may be 10 billion grams, or 10 million kilograms, or 10,000 tons of water suspended in each cubic kilometer of air.

What then happens is that that mass of air somehow undergoes a change. Most likely, it cools off, and the water vapor can now condense into actual water. It may cool off because it is night time, because it has ran into another mass of cold hair, or because it has been lifted up by terrain or by convection. Now, that "dry" vapor turns into liquid water. One of the curiosities of the rain, mentioned above, is that rain can't form directly from water molecules sticking to each other. Instead, the water starts forming around some foreign particle that has a minute electrical charge, such as dust or bacteria. Often, rain actually first forms as snowflakes, and then melts as it falls. The rain will continue to fall until the mass of air is no longer saturated...that is, until the water vapor in it can go back to being alone, without clumping into droplets. What that amount of rain is depends on the situation, from droplets that have a terminal velocity of inches an hour and evaporate before they hit the ground, to the twenty or even thirty inches that can fall on mountain peaks during a hurricane.

The fact that rain brings water and moisture is a fact that I obviously don't need to explain, but some of the other things that rain has in it are almost as important, in the long run. Inside of rain, lies dissolved carbon dioxide, which is slightly acidic and can dissolve rocks, but also helps return carbon dioxide to the ocean. Fixed nitrogen compounds, formed by lightning or cosmic radiation, are also brought down with the rain, forming an important part of the nitrogen cycle. Rain also washes particulate matter out of the atmosphere. While the total amount of carbon dioxide, nitrogen and particulates in rain may be small, the overall effect of rain in forming a connection between the atmosphere and the ground is vital. Along with these "natural" cycles, rain can also bring down sulfuric acid, which causes acid rain. While this may be damaging in the short term, it is also another cycle that is part of maintaining equilibrium.

Thus, while rain could be seen simply as "water falling from the sky", rain is actually a complicated process of redistributing the planets thermodynamic and chemical resources.

This story, by W.Somerset Maugham, has been filmed many times in the last seventy-odd years, but this is the first talkie. I cannot say that it is the best of all possible adaptations; a tacked-on sub-plot (involving a romance with an amorous quartermaster) helps the exposition but dilutes the icy cynicism of the basic story, the missionary and his wife are clumsy caricatures of hellfire and brimstone puritanism, while Joan Crawford's "low-class" accent is more irritating than it is believable -- one is relieved when she forgets to use it, and no less than Charlie Chaplin was known to have questioned the costuming choices, saying that "no whore would be caught dead looking like that".

Yet it shines.

The story is told only partially through the script, which seems less wordy than most early talkies: many important points are made purely visually, from the overflowing rainbarrel in the opening sequence to the high-heeled shoe that signals Sadie's return to her prior way of life. The camera moves: around tables, in and around groups of people, in and out of doors with incredible smoothness. Crawford's face is also a focus: from her initial "good-time gal" flirting with the sailors to the incredible sequence where she (apparently) converts, she leers, pouts, weeps, and more importantly, knows when to stop, in the three scenes she appears without (much) makeup. (My mother asked me to look for freckles.)

When Rev. Davidson soothes her in her extremis by telling her in a hypnotic voice (backed by native drums) that she is now "radiant, beautiful, one of the daughters of the King" (a moment of sheer unearthly poetry that verges on psychosis), we believe him -- and her. We also believe Huston's face a moment later, as he prays alone, grimaces unreadably, and suddenly resolves into a look of predatory lust just before slipping into her room, the drums implacably beating in the background.

Small excellences abound: the natives are portrayed sympathetically, and for the time, fairly accurately-- I especially liked the use of Polynesian music, which, along with the Sadie's hot jazz records, emphasies the sensual nature of life in the tropics. The subject of her profession is handled tastefully, but frankly and with humor: in referring to a friend's marriage to a sister fille de joie, the quartermaster remarks that they initally met "illegally" and goes on to say that since they met seeing each other at their worst, they can appreciate seeing each other at their best. A running counterpoint is provided by Dr. MacPhail, a more-or-less neutral bystander, and Mr. Horne, the genial (and generally supinely drunk) innkeeper, who fusses, chortles, philosophizes, and gets most of the movie's best lines.

Perhaps the best of these occurs sometime after Sadie's conversion: lolling indolently, he reads from a small book something that sounds incredibly like Ecclesiaticus-- for a moment, we nearly believe that Davidson has converted him, too. Then, finishing the passage, he intones, "Thus spoke Zarathustra.... Good old Nietzsche!"

Sixty-five years later, watching the film on a postage-stamp-sized screen of Real Video, I nearly fell out of my chair.

Shallow rain falls among myriad rooftops
Liquid prisms cutting the sun

Light falls from my window
Reflection upon the wooden floor
Like ethereal magma
Through the room it flows

Everchanging patterns
Coupled with silent drumbeats amid
the thunderlion's roar
Bring to mind a mirror's double sight
As the fluid rays soften hard wood into
Something else
While pecking drops fall against the blurry glass
That bravely stand the long siege of rain

Clouds caress the sun
Iridescent rays falling to their gentle touch
My kaleidoscope fades
And the rain goes on.

I don't understand how some people view rain as a negative thing, I never have and I never will. Ok, so you don't want to get wet wear a raincoat or carry an umbrella, and relax, calm down and enjoy…


The sight of colours becoming increasingly intense and vibrant , in their damp state. The world being cleaned as dirt and residue are rinsed away. The world becomes clean again. Look.


The fresh scent after the dust has been rinsed from the air. With no interferences you can smell anything, and everything; grass, trees, the earth beneath your feet. The world becomes fresh again. Breath.


The sound of rain as it starts out softly, working it's way to a crescendo, a different sound being emitted from each new surface. Let thunder excite you, get into the rain orchestra, let it deep inside your soul. Listen.


The rainbow after the storm, with all it's colour, remember searching for the pot of gold at the end. Be a kid and just do it, jump in a puddle, you're never too old to puddle jump.


The fact that everyone else around you had a miserable day while you felt great. You let yourself enjoy what is normally not considered to be enjoyable. You took in beautiful sites, fresh scents, good music and maybe even some good clean fun. It was a great day because you appreciated rain

Edward Thomas (1878-1917)

Rain, midnight rain, nothing but the wild rain
On this bleak hut, and solitude, and me
Remembering again that I shall die
And neither hear the rain nor give it thanks
For washing me cleaner than I have been
Since I was born into this solitude.
Blessed are the dead that the rain rains upon:
But here I pray that none whom once I loved
Is dying tonight or lying still awake
Solitary, listening to the rain,
Either in pain or thus in sympathy
Helpless among the living and the dead,
Like a cold water among broken reeds,
Myriads of broken reeds all still and stiff,
Like me who have no love which this wild rain
Has not dissolved except the love of death,
If love it be towards what is perfect and
Cannot, the tempest tells me, disappoint.

- January 1916

A Child's Garden of Verses (1885)
Robert Louis Stevenson


The rain is falling all around,
It falls on field and tree,
It rains on the umbrellas here,
And on the ships at sea.

Public domain text taken from The Poets’ Corner:

CST Approved

U ame (rain)

ASCII Art Representation:

      #        #         #
      #  ###   #   ###   #
      #        #         #
      #  ###   #   ###   #
      #        #        ##
      #        #         #               

Character Etymology:

Drawn as rain (as show by the four dots) falling from a cloud (|-|) under the heavens (the first and topmost horizontal stroke). Some scholars feel that the middle "|" stroke represents the concept of falling.

A listing of all on-yomi and kun-yomi readings:

on-yomi: U
kun-yomi: ame ama- -same

Nanori Readings:

Nanori: (none)

English Definitions:

  1. U, ame: rain, rainfall.
  2. ama-: rain

Unicode Encoded Version:

Unicode Encoded Compound Examples:

雨乞い (amagoi): praying for rain.
雨水 (amamizu, usui): rainwater.
雨季 (uki): the rainy season.
雨傘 (amagasa): umbrella.
雨雲 (amagumo): rain cloud
雨滴 (uteki): raindrop

  Previous: right  |  Japanese Kanji  |  Next: yen

One of the Snapple Elementals drinks, in my opinion the best. It's clear and has a taste that's kind of hard to describe-- but once you get used to it it tastes really good. It's intended to refresh the drinker, and it really works, really really well. It has Ginseng in it, as well as Agave and something called "Astragalus". If you ask me, this is the _perfect_ coding drink. :)

"Rain" was also the name of the first Beatles song to contain musical elements played backward. It was the b-side to "paperback writer".

Rain (?), n. & v.





© Webster 1913.

Rain (?), n. [OF. rein, AS. regen; akin to OFries. rein, D. & G. regen, OS. & OHG. regan, Icel., Dan., & Sw. regn, Goth. rign, and prob. to L. rigare to water, to wet; cf. Gr. to wet, to rain.]

Water falling in drops from the clouds; the descent of water from the clouds in drops.

Rain is water by the heat of the sun divided into very small parts ascending in the air, till, encountering the cold, it be condensed into clouds, and descends in drops. Ray.

Fair days have oft contracted wind and rain. Milton.

Rain is distinguished from mist by the size of the drops, which are distinctly visible. When water falls in very small drops or particles, it is called mist; and fog is composed of particles so fine as to be not only individually indistinguishable, but to float or be suspended in the air. See Fog, and Mist.

Rain band Meteorol., a dark band in the yellow portion of the solar spectrum near the sodium line, caused by the presence of watery vapor in the atmosphere, and hence sometimes used in weather predictions. -- Rain bird Zool., the yaffle, or green woodpecker. [Prov. Eng.] The name is also applied to various other birds, as to Saurothera vetula of the West Indies. -- Rain fowl Zool., the channel-bill cuckoo (Scythrops Novae-Hollandiae) of Australia. -- Rain gauge, an instrument of various forms measuring the quantity of rain that falls at any given place in a given time; a pluviometer; an ombrometer. -- Rain goose Zool., the red-throated diver, or loon. [Prov. Eng.] -- Rain prints Geol., markings on the surfaces of stratified rocks, presenting an appearance similar to those made by rain on mud and sand, and believed to have been so produced. -- Rain quail. Zool. See Quail, n., 1. -- Rain water, water that has fallen from the clouds in rain.


© Webster 1913.

Rain, v. i. [imp. & p. p. Rained (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Raining.] [AS. regnian, akin to G. regnen, Goth. rignjan. See Rain, n.]


To fall in drops from the clouds, as water; used mostly with it for a nominative; as, it rains.

The rain it raineth every day. Shak.


To fall or drop like water from the clouds; as, tears rained from their eyes.


© Webster 1913.

Rain (?), v. t.


To pour or shower down from above, like rain from the clouds.

Then said the Lord unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. Ex. xvi. 4.


To bestow in a profuse or abundant manner; as, to rain favors upon a person.


© Webster 1913.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.