American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. An arc of spectral colors, usually identified as red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet, that appears in the sky opposite the sun as a result of the refractive dispersion of sunlight in drops of rain or mist.
- n. A similar arc or band, as one produced by a prism or by iridescence.
- n. A graded display of colors.
- n. An illusory hope: chasing the rainbow of overnight success.
- n. A diverse assortment or collection.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A bow, or an arc of a circle, consisting of the prismatic colors, formed by the refraction and reflection of rays of light from drops of rain or vapor, appearing in the part of the heavens opposite to the sun. When large and strongly illuminated, the rainbow presents the appearance of two concentric arches, the inner being called the primary and the outer the secondary rainbow. Each is formed of the colors of the solar spectrum, but the colors are arranged in reversed order, the red forming the exterior ring of the primary bow and the interior of the secondary. The primary bow is formed by rays of the sun that enter the upper part of falling drops of rain, and undergo two refractions and one reflection; the secondary, by rays that enter the under part of rain drops, and undergo two refractions and two reflections. Hence, the colors of the secondary bow are fainter than those of the primary. The rainbow is regarded as a symbol of divine beneficence toward man, from its being made the token of the covenant that the earth should never again be destroyed by a flood (Gen. ix. 13–17). Smaller bows, sometimes circular and very brilliant, are often seen through masses of mist or spray, as from a waterfall or from waves about a ship. (See
fog-bow.) The moon sometimes forms a bow or arch of light, more faint than that formed by the sun, and called a lunar rainbow.
- n. In heraldry, the representation of a half-ring divided into seven concentric narrow rings and arched upward, each end resting on a clump of clouds. To avoid the difficulty of finding seven different tinctures, the number of concentric rings is sometimes diminished to three, usually azure, or, and g ules—that is, blue, gold, and red.
- n. In ornithology, a humming-bird of tho genus Diphlogena, containing two most brilliantly plumaged species, D. iris of Bolivia, and D. hesperus of Ecuador.
- n. The rainbow-fish.
- To color like a rainbow, or so brightly as to suggest the rainbow; curve over or surround, as with a rainbow.
- n. A multicoloured arch in the sky, produced by prismatic refraction of light within droplets of rain in the air.
- n. Any prismatic refraction of light showing a spectrum of colours.
- n. often used with “of” A wide assortment; a varied multitude.
- n. An illusion, mirage
- n. baseball A curveball, particularly a slow one
- n. poker slang In Texas hold 'em or Omaha hold 'em, a flop that contains three different suits
- adj. Multicoloured.
- adj. attributive Made up of several races or ethnicities, or (more broadly) of several cultural or ideological factions.
- adj. attributive LGBT.
- adj. poker Composed entirely of different suits.
- v. transitive To pattern with many colours, like a rainbow.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. A bow or arch exhibiting, in concentric bands, the several colors of the spectrum, and formed in the part of the hemisphere opposite to the sun by the refraction and reflection of the sun's rays in drops of falling rain.
- n. an arc of colored light in the sky caused by refraction of the sun's rays by rain
- n. an illusory hope
- From Old English reġnboga ("rainbow"), formed as reġn ("rain") + boga ("bow"). Cognate with Old High German reginbogo, Icelandic regnbogi and Old Norse regnbogi. (Wiktionary)
- Middle English, from Old English rēnboga : rēn, rain + boga, bow; see bow3. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Heritage Week or Day, established in recognition of the term rainbow nation, coined by former president Mandela in 1996, came to an end in pomp and fashion on Friday night and the hundreds that came over the week witnessed culture blend with the modern world in colour, sound and taste.”
“All late morning and early afternoon long, Ernie puts on his cheerful song and dance routine while carefully layering the ingredients on fresh-baked buns in what he calls the rainbow effect -- a special order as to what ingredients goes on from first to last.”
“Everybody know about little children all seem to be fascinated by rainbows because the rainbow is the unique phenomena for children, they always seem happy if they see rainbow.”
“He goes on to say that he does not expect a world flood, as the rainbow is a promise that this will not happen again.”
“They seem to forget that the rainbow is a symbol from the Old Testament as a covenant from God that he won't do another flood, and the Christians have also done their share of ritual theft; Holy Communion is a rip-off of the Passover seder.”
“And there upon the rainbow is the answer to our neverending story”
“Mr. Premier, some want to believe that at the end of the rainbow is a crock of gold.”
“The inside of the rainbow is then checked off with meal; and the fetishes, consisting of clay-washed stone bears, wooden dolls painted white and adorned with turquoise ear-rings and feathers, and gray stone dolls, are placed in the checks.”
“He doesnt know how the Earths deep, never-ending note clothes me in rainbow colors and fills my head with all the books ever written.”
“Brian Sokol/Bloomberg A rainbow is hung on the arch of the pedestrian bridge.”
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