from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A thin line or narrow beam of light or other radiant energy.
  • n. A graphic or other representation of such a line.
  • n. Radiance; light.
  • n. A small amount; a trace: not a ray of hope left.
  • n. Mathematics A straight line extending from a point. Also called half-line.
  • n. A structure or part having the form of a straight line extending from a point.
  • n. Any of the bright streaks that are seen radiating from some craters on the moon.
  • n. Botany A ray flower or the corolla of a ray flower.
  • n. Botany A branch of an umbel.
  • n. Zoology One of the bony spines supporting the membrane of a fish's fin.
  • n. Zoology One of the arms of a starfish or other radiate animal.
  • n. Slang Sunshine: Let's go to the beach and catch some rays.
  • transitive v. To send out as rays; emit.
  • transitive v. To supply with rays or radiating lines.
  • transitive v. To cast rays on; irradiate.
  • n. Any of various marine fishes of the order Rajiformes or Batoidei, having cartilaginous skeletons, horizontally flattened bodies, and narrow tails.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A beam of light or radiation.
  • n. A marine fish with a flat body, large wing-like fins, and a whip-like tail.
  • n. A rib-like reinforcement of bone or cartilage in a fish's fin.
  • n. A line extending indefinitely in one direction from a point.
  • n. A tiny amount.
  • v. To emit something as if in rays.
  • v. To radiate as if in rays
  • n. An anglicised spelling of re.
  • n. The name of the letter ⟨/⟩, one of two which represent the r sound in Pitman shorthand.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Array; order; arrangement; dress.
  • n. One of a number of lines or parts diverging from a common point or center, like the radii of a circle.
  • n. A radiating part of a flower or plant; the marginal florets of a compound flower, as an aster or a sunflower; one of the pedicels of an umbel or other circular flower cluster; radius. See Radius.
  • n.
  • n. One of the radiating spines, or cartilages, supporting the fins of fishes.
  • n. One of the spheromeres of a radiate, especially one of the arms of a starfish or an ophiuran.
  • n.
  • n. A line of light or heat proceeding from a radiant or reflecting point; a single element of light or heat propagated continuously
  • n. One of the component elements of the total radiation from a body; any definite or limited portion of the spectrum; See Illust. under Light.
  • n. Sight; perception; vision; -- from an old theory of vision, that sight was something which proceeded from the eye to the object seen.
  • n. One of a system of diverging lines passing through a point, and regarded as extending indefinitely in both directions. See Half-ray.
  • n. Any one of numerous elasmobranch fishes of the order Raiæ, including the skates, torpedoes, sawfishes, etc.
  • n. In a restricted sense, any of the broad, flat, narrow-tailed species, as the skates and sting rays. See skate.
  • intransitive v. To shine, as with rays.
  • transitive v. To array.
  • transitive v. To mark, stain, or soil; to streak; to defile.
  • transitive v. To mark with long lines; to streak.
  • transitive v. To send forth or shoot out; to cause to shine out.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To mark with long lines; form rays of or in.
  • To shoot forth or emit; cause to shine out.
  • To stripe.
  • To shine forth or out as in rays.
  • To array.
  • To beray with dirt or filth; daub; defile.
  • n. Light emitted in a given direction from a luminous body; a line of light, or, more generally, of radiant energy; technically, the straight line perpendicular to the wave-front in the propagation of a light- or heat-wave.
  • n. A beam of intellectual light.
  • n. A stripe; streak; line.
  • n. In geometry, an unlimited straight line.
  • n. In botany:
  • n. One of the branches or pedicels in an umbel.
  • n. The marginal part as opposed to the central part or disk in a head, umbel, or other flower-cluster, when there is a difference of structure, as in many Compositæ and in wild hydrangeas.
  • n. A ray-flower.
  • n. A radius. See medullary rays, under medullary.
  • n. One of the ray-like processes or arms of the Radiata, as of a starfish; a radiated or radiating part or organ; an actinomere. See cuts under Asterias and Asteriidæ.
  • n. One of the hard spinous or soft jointed processes which support and serve to extend the fin of a fish; a part of the skeleton of the fin; specifically, one which is articulated, thus contradistinguished from a hard or inarticulated one called specifically a spine; a fin-ray.
  • n. In entomology, one of the longitudinal nervures or veins of an insect's wing.
  • n. plural In heraldry:
  • n. Long indentations or dents by which a heraldic line is broken, whether dividing two parts of the escutcheon or bounding any ordinary. Compare radiant, 3 .
  • n. A representation of rays, whether issuing from the sun or from a corner of the escutcheon, a cloud, or an ordinary.
  • n. Bundles of straight or collecting tubules of the kidney contained in the cortex; the pyramids of Ferrein. See tubule.
  • n. One of the elasmobranchiate fishes constituting the genus Raia, recognized by the flattened body, which becomes a broad disk from its union with the extremely broad and fleshy pectorals, which are joined to each other before or at the snout, and extend behind the two sides of the abdomen as far as the base of the ventrals, resembling the rays of a fan.
  • n. Any member of the order Hypotremi, Batoidei, or Raiæ, such as the sting-ray, eagle-ray, skate, torpedo, etc. See cuts under Elasmobranchii, skate, sting-ray, and torpedo.
  • n. Array; order; arrangement; rank; dress.
  • n. A kind of striped cloth.
  • n. A kind of dance.
  • n. A certain disease of sheep, also called scab, shab, or rubbers.
  • n. Same as roy.
  • n. In geometry: The aggregate of all points of the straight a situated on one and the same side of a point O of adjective
  • n. One of the two parts of a straightest (great circle) determined by a point of it O with its opposite O′ .
  • n. See obscure rays, radiation, and radioactivity.
  • n. plural Emblems of light and glory embroidered around monograms of the holy name and sacred personages.
  • n. The cathode rays, the X- or Röntgen rays, and the various types of radiation discovered in the study of the electric discharge in gases (see cathode rays) and of radioactivity. See radioactivity. Obscure rays are detected by their action on the photographic plate, their heating effect, their power of exciting luminescence or of producing other rays, and their electrical effects. Owing to the recent and very rapid development of this branch of physics the nomenclature of obscure radiation is somewhat confused. The term Hittorf rays is applied indiscriminately to all rays observed when the electric discharge passes through a tube with two terminals, a Hittorf tube, at high vacuum. When in a vacuum-tube the cathode is perforated, or consists of a tube, portions of the stream of positively charged ions from the anode pass through the opening. These form rays which enter the tube behind the cathode and which are known as canal rays or, after their discoverer, as Goldstein rays. They differ from cathode rays in having smaller velocity, and greater mass of the moving particles, in bearing a positive electric charge, and in being deflected in the opposite direction by a magnetic or electrostatic field. If cathode rays are allowed to fall upon a window of aluminium that forms part of the wall of the vacuum-tube within which they are produced, those which penetrate the metal and enter the outer air are called Lenard rays. Lenard showed that such rays suffer diffusion in passing through the air, like light in a turbid medium, and that, like the cathode rays within the tube, they are deflected by a magnet. In 1896 Becquerel discovered the spontaneous emission of obscure rays of the corpuscular type in substances containing uranium, and the name Becquerel rays is now applied to such rays from any radioactive material. These rays are also called uranium, thorium, radium, polonium, or actinium rays respectively, according to the radioactive element to which they are due. See radium, uranium. It was later shown by Rutherford that there are at least three distinct types of such radiation which may be distinguished from each other by their power of penetrating layers of metal and by their behavior in the magnetic field. The first of these, α-rays, have the least power of penetration. They are capable of ionizing gases and thus imparting to them the power of conducting electricity. They are deflected by the magnetic and electrostatic fields, but in the opposite direction from cathode rays, and are supposed to consist of a stream of positively charged particles of comparatively large mass traveling with a speed of about one tenth as great as the velocity of light. The α-rays affect the photographic plate and are capable of producing fluorescence and phosphorescence. The second, the β-rays, have somewhat greater penetrating power and intense photographic action. They are deflected by the magnetic field in the same sense as cathode rays and are supposed to consist of a Stream of negatively charged particles having a mass equal to of an atom of hydrogen with velocities comparable to that of light. β-rays produce fluorescence and phosphorescence, ionize gases, and may be detected by their electrical action. The third type of rays discovered by Villard, the γ-rays, have extraordinary penetrating power, being able to pass through several centimeters of lead. They are not affected by the magnetic field, in which respect they resemble ordinary X-rays. The γ-rays are regarded as electromagnetic disturbances produced by the action of the β-rays, just as the X-rays are produced by the action of cathode rays. Like the other types they produce ionization of gases and fluorescence and phosphorescence. See radioactivity. When X-rays meet an obstacle, as a metal surface, reflection in the ordinary sense of the word does not occur, hut rays differing in certain respects from the incident rays are diffusely emitted from the surfaces upon which the X-rays impinge. These rays were termed secondary rays by Sagnac, who investigated their properties. They are also occasionally called Sagnac rays, after their discoverer. In the same manner, bodies upon which secondary rays, or S-rays, fall emit a further modified type of radiation known as tertiary rays. Aside from the ordinary radiation from wires heated to incandescence by the electric current, rays similar to those emitted by radioactive bodies have been described. Tommasina claims to have distinguished three distinct types of rays, α-, β-, and γ-rays, having different powers of penetration and producing different effects upon a charged body. It is claimed that these socalled pyro-rays produce ionization of gases and excite fluorescence. In 1903, Blondlot announced the discovery of a new type of radiation originally obtained by filtering the rays from an X-ray tube through aluminium or black paper. These rays, which Blondlot terms N-rays (from Nancy, in France, where he discovered them), differ from X-rays in exhibiting the phenomena of polarization, refraction, and reflection. They were subsequently detected in various sources of light, properly screened, such as the Welsbach burner, an ordinary gas flame, a piece of metal heated to incandescence, and even sunlight. The N-rays are said to pass readily through wood, paper, and metal, but to be absorbed by rock-salt, fluorite, and glass, to increase the luminescence of fluorescent substances previously excited, but to be without effect on photographic plates. Their wave-length, according to Sagnac, is about 0.2 millimeters. In spite of the detailed description of the methods of obtaining N-rays and the definite reports concerning their properties, many physicists have failed altogether to reproduce Blondlot's results and the existence of the Blondlot rays is no longer credited.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. extend or spread outward from a center or focus or inward towards a center
  • v. expose to radiation
  • v. emit as rays
  • n. a branch of an umbel or an umbelliform inflorescence
  • n. any of the stiff bony spines in the fin of a fish
  • n. cartilaginous fishes having horizontally flattened bodies and enlarged winglike pectoral fins with gills on the underside; most swim by moving the pectoral fins
  • n. a column of light (as from a beacon)
  • n. (mathematics) a straight line extending from a point
  • n. a group of nearly parallel lines of electromagnetic radiation
  • n. the syllable naming the second (supertonic) note of any major scale in solmization


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English, from Old French rai, from Latin radius.
Middle English raye, from Old French raie, from Latin raia.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Via Middle English, from Old French rai, from Latin radius ("staff, stake, spoke").



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