Main definitions of ray in English

: ray1ray2ray3

ray1

noun

  • 1Each of the lines in which light (and heat) may seem to stream from the sun or any luminous body, or pass through a small opening.

    ‘a ray of sunlight came through the window’
    • ‘A Camera Obscura is when an inverted image is created by rays of light passing through a pinhole into a dark space.’
    • ‘Light rays pass through the cornea and the lens and focus on the retina.’
    • ‘I can't move, I'm so enraptured by the way the last luminous rays of light dance over his glowing skin.’
    • ‘The first rays of light that passed her eyelids were very dim.’
    • ‘Through studying the transformation of light rays passing through glass objects, he created the effect of movement of form.’
    • ‘The sun is out now, and the floors are lit by the rays streaming though the window.’
    • ‘This means rays of light passing through will bend toward the center of the lens on entry.’
    • ‘She stopped when she saw the first ray of sunshine on the ground of the cave.’
    • ‘She saw the first rays of sunlight push their way up from the horizon, and sighed.’
    • ‘He raises the crown into the golden rays of summer sunshine streaming through the windows.’
    • ‘The bright rays of sunshine streaming through her window were not at all comforting to her.’
    • ‘Stunningly beautiful golden rays of sunlight crested the horizon and he smiled at the warmth.’
    • ‘The shadow moved forward into view, the moon's rays shining dimly upon it.’
    • ‘The stars were glimmering across the night sky and the moon's rays shone upon her.’
    • ‘Through the breaks in the trees, Jocelyn could see the moon's ray shining down to the forest floor.’
    • ‘The sun was low in the sky as the soft, warm rays hit her from the east.’
    • ‘The rays of dawn were tipping over the horizon.’
    • ‘The sun was out and Cay could feel its warm rays touching his back.’
    • ‘His hair was of a brilliant blond mingled with the rays of silver moonlight.’
    • ‘There was a slight ray of moonlight visible far above his head.’
    beam, shaft, streak, bar, pencil, finger, stream, gleam, flash, glint, glimmer, flicker, twinkle, shimmer
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1The straight line in which light or other electromagnetic radiation travels to a given point.
      ‘take a specific point and back-trace every ray of light that hits that point’
      • ‘This was the approach of geometrical optics, which treated light as moving in straight line rays which were reflected or refracted according to simple rules.’
      • ‘The easiest way to describe light rays and light cones is through geometric optics.’
      • ‘Mirrors, spherical or otherwise, operate on the principle that the angle of reflection of a ray of light equals the angle at which it strikes the mirror's surface.’
      • ‘Instead of taking an algebraic approach, however, Halton used a shortcut inspired by the geometry of paths traced by rays of light.’
      • ‘A light ray grazing the surface under those circumstances is bent, or refracted, upward.’
    2. 1.2with adjective or noun modifier raysA specified form of non-luminous radiation.
      ‘ultraviolet rays’
      • ‘But even more important is that it absorbs carcinogenic ultra-violet rays and electromagnetic radiation.’
      • ‘A whole day of radiation of ultraviolet rays even kills the most resistant of germs.’
      • ‘Look for one that promises to shield you from a broad spectrum of ultraviolet rays.’
      • ‘The ozone layer protects the Earth's surface from the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays.’
      • ‘The radioactive glucose emits gamma rays which are then detected by the scanner.’
      • ‘Water is passed through a disinfecting chamber containing a quartz mercury lamp that emits ultraviolet light rays.’
      • ‘During the initial nuclear radiation mostly Gamma rays are emitted from the fireball.’
      • ‘The gluten also shields the helpful microbes from the sun's lethal ultraviolet rays.’
      • ‘They are produced in the atmosphere by the interaction of galactic cosmic rays with the atoms of the atmosphere.’
      • ‘Lights that are used for SAD phototherapy must filter out harmful UV rays.’
      • ‘The HESS project deals with the detection, measuring and interpretation of high-energy cosmic rays.’
      • ‘Not while the earth was constantly being bombarded by cosmic rays from interstellar space.’
      • ‘The shock heats the material in the shell to temperatures over 1 million degrees, producing bright X rays.’
      • ‘For sunglasses, oversized Aviators are essential to block UV rays and look cool.’
      • ‘Also, some products block UVB rays, but not harmful UVA rays.’
      • ‘Telescopes designed to collect and focus X rays from space provide that vision.’
      • ‘Surprisingly, x rays do not penetrate Earth's atmosphere, so astronomers must place x-ray telescopes in space.’
      • ‘The sun emits visible light, heat, ultraviolet rays, radio waves, and X-rays.’
      • ‘Gamma rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation, just like visible light or x rays, but with a much higher energy.’
      • ‘However, the longer wavelength rays of ultraviolet light can also cause problems.’
    3. 1.3raysNorth American informal Sunlight considered in the context of sunbathing.
      ‘catch some rays on a sandy beach’
      • ‘Find out about the villa's position and orientation so you know that you do not have go to the beach in order to catch some rays.’
      • ‘Midmountain, Sunshine Grill's deck lets you catch some rays over a burger or chili.’
      • ‘Two researchers specializing in the psychology of health say they've found a more productive way to wean sun worshipers from catching some rays.’
      • ‘Before heading out to catch some rays, take a look at your checklist.’
      • ‘Sun, wind, sea and salt may have left their mark on hair that enjoyed days at the beach, in the pool or catching some rays.’
      • ‘So let's head on down to that booth you were talking about and then catch some rays.’
      • ‘I was there five days, so got to know the soldiers who guarded me when I was fishing or just catching some rays, and the wives who were always bringing me fruit or a Coca-Cola.’
      • ‘They like to spend a lot of their time sunning themselves, so perfect opportunity up here, up the top on a sunny day to catch some rays.’
      • ‘A guided hike in the morning which climbs out of the village is on offer as is the chance to catch some rays at the nearby lake.’
      • ‘After some glorious lazy afternoons catching rays, taking dips and grabbing soft cones… summer s over.’
    4. 1.4An initial or slight indication of a positive or welcome quality in a time of difficulty or trouble.
      ‘if only I could see some ray of hope’
      • ‘Most of all I feel really needed all of a sudden; I feel I can bring a slight ray of hope and variety to this ever more depressing world.’
      • ‘The commissioners comment, ‘This witness was a fresh and welcome ray of hope for the Tribunal.’’
      • ‘Although the concrete result of the proposal has yet to be seen, it nevertheless sparks a ray of hope for a peaceful solution in the troubled region.’
      • ‘At a time of continuous high unemployment, particularly in South Australia, statements like these were more than welcome and gave just a ray of hope.’
      • ‘But when we talked, there was a small ray of hope.’
      • ‘The ray of hope in this is the age of the author.’
      • ‘‘The only ray of hope we had was the anchor rope,’ said Mr. Podiyan.’
      • ‘And what about ‘justice is not a function of power, but rather the ray of goodness that is one's salvation’?’
      • ‘"I hope the success of our expedition will lend a ray of hope to our people who are discouraged in their daily lives."’
      • ‘A ray of hope appears in the form of Mary Burke, the daughter of a heart attack victim who strikes a chord with the troubled Pierce.’
      • ‘One ray of hope is that the circumstances of the attack would give the Socialist Party a possible excuse for flip-flopping were they so inclined.’
      • ‘But Dean's impressive fundraising operation offers a ray of hope.’
      • ‘That's a ray of good news for the town of Steinhatchee.’
      • ‘The President's farewell speech was a ray of hope.’
      • ‘In this ruling Kelly found a definite ray of hope.’
      • ‘There's a bright ray of sanity on the Los Angeles Times op-ed page.’
      • ‘Events in Europe offered Japan a delusory ray of hope.’
      • ‘Shehnaz held her daughter's hand tightly lest destiny snatch her only child - the sole ray of hope in her otherwise gloomy life.’
      • ‘Some tenants felt Christmas would not generate big profit margins for them, but others saw a ray of hope with a late-buying binge.’
      • ‘Faded Seaside Glamour was released in the winter, but brought rays of hope to grey, cold Britain.’
      glimmer, flicker, spark, glint, trace, hint, indication, suggestion, sign, scintilla, whisper
      View synonyms
  • 2Mathematics
    Any of a set of straight lines passing through one point.

    ‘the ray that runs from the centre of the circle to the point of tangency’
    • ‘All coding elements redirect light so that no ray, besides the on-axis ray, travels toward the traditional geometric focus point.’
    • ‘It is always wise to make a sketch of the system, including the ray bundles for the on-axis and off-axis imagery.’
  • 3A thing that is arranged radially.

    • ‘Traces of thorns can be observed on the surface of the distal part of all rays.’
    • ‘All rays of the outwardly placed spicules are well developed.’
    • ‘In green swordtails, the sword consists of a set of ventral fin rays that extend posteriorly beyond the caudal fin margin.’
    • ‘These rays have no relation to anything in the vertebrate limb.’
    • ‘For example, it is possible that cellular turnover contributes to outgrowth of the fin ray.’
    • ‘Clinids tend to have more spines than rays on the dorsal fin, which usually begins close to the head.’
    • ‘Species of Orbiculopylorum are always characterized by an outer part that is definitely separated from the inner part, and the two parts are connected mainly by internal rays.’
    • ‘Most living echinoderms, like this sand dollar from Baja California, are pentameral; that is, they have fivefold symmetry, with rays or arms in fives or multiples of five.’
    • ‘It possesses six rays; the apical rays are long and curved.’
    1. 3.1Botany Any of the individual strap-shaped florets around the edge of the flower of a daisy or related plant.
      • ‘Parenchyma rays occur throughout the xylem and phloem cells.’
      • ‘In the vascular tissue of woody species, parenchyma cells include those in phloem, and the ray cells and axial parenchyma cells in xylem.’
      • ‘The resin canal itself was excluded from fusiform rays.’
      • ‘A yellow ray of flowers appears on a long fleshy hollow stem.’
      • ‘The majority of the rays of the spicules are arranged radially and in a plane.’
    2. 3.2Zoology Each of the long slender bony supports in the fins of most bony fishes.
      • ‘Two to three scales bear a pore behind the inversion line until the lateral line ends at a caudal fin ray.’
      • ‘The pelvic fin usually consists of a spine on each side and one fin ray.’
      • ‘One of the most prominent characteristics of early vertebrates is the elongate caudal fin bearing fin rays.’
      • ‘Second, in most basal ray-finned fishes such as sturgeon and trout a single dorsal fin is present and is supported by flexible fin rays.’
      • ‘The first dorsal fin has four rays, the lips are smooth and are roughly the same thickness as the diameter of the eye.’
      • ‘The dorsal and pectoral fins have hard spines whereas the other rays are soft like the anal and caudal fins.’
      • ‘The dorsal fin has 13 spines and 10 soft rays and the anal fin has 7 spines and 10 soft rays.’
    3. 3.3Zoology Each radial arm of a starfish.
      ‘The sequence and pattern of development of supernumerary rays differs among multiradiate starfish.’

verb

no object, with adverbial of direction
  • 1Spread from or as if from a central point.

    ‘delicate lines rayed out at each corner of her eyes’
    • ‘So he went to where a single blackthorn limb spired above a briary thicket, rayed with fine spikes.’
    • ‘The battleships ray out over the North Sea, keeping their stations accurately apart.’
    spread out, fan out, radiate out
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1literary with object and adverbial of direction Radiate (light)
      ‘the sun rays forth its natural light into the air’

Phrases

    ray of sunshine
    informal
    • A person who brings happiness into the lives of others.

      ‘he hasn't exactly been a ray of sunshine up to now’
      • ‘Scottish fiction, for all its manifest and manifold qualities, is not blessed with many rays of sunshine.’
      • ‘As P G Wodehouse famously commented in Blandings Castle: ‘It is never difficult to distinguish between a Scotsman with a grievance and a ray of sunshine.’’
      • ‘Cathy said: ‘Shannon was a little star and our little ray of sunshine.’’
      • ‘Although you may sometimes resent the pressure of being everybody's muse or ray of sunshine, you try not to let it show.’
      • ‘She is a ray of sunshine who brightens our lives, and many others I am sure.’
      • ‘They joined her brave father Aleksas Chmieliauskas, 56, and two young children, in paying respects to a woman remembered as a ray of sunshine, who's beaming smile raised the spirits of all around her.’
      • ‘One of these others was a friend of Rick's, a 50-something former dancer who could better be described as a ray of sunshine, George Ramos.’
      • ‘But compared to Ann, Joanna's a ray of sunshine.’
      • ‘Kenny Anthony, with his freshly acquired movie-star public persona, was as a ray of sunshine to the inexplicably depressing atmosphere.’
      • ‘If you're tired of tripping over your rug rat, why not get out of the house for a few hours with your little ray of sunshine by visiting Little Tots Playgroup on Chapel Hill?’

Origin

Middle English from Old French rai, based on Latin radius ‘spoke, ray’. The verb dates from the late 16th century.

Pronunciation

ray

/reɪ/

Main definitions of ray in English

: ray1ray2ray3

ray2

noun

  • A broad flat marine or freshwater fish with a cartilaginous skeleton, winglike pectoral fins, and a long slender tail. Many rays have venomous spines or electric organs.

    Order Batiformes: several families, including Rajidae (the skates)

    • ‘Participants will dive amidst one of Europe's largest collection of sharks, as well as 2000 other fish, rays and conger eels.’
    • ‘The freshwater sawfish, a ray, is related to stingrays, skates, sharks, and other fishes with cartilaginous skeletons.’
    • ‘Whale sharks, manta rays and even grey whales are almost common.’
    • ‘Even the migration pattern of species such as whale sharks, manta rays, turtles and whales has a bearing on when to go.’
    • ‘No plankton means no basking sharks or manta rays but it also means exceedingly good visibility.’
    • ‘But such incidents are not common, he says - fishers usually cut their lines to allow the venomous rays to swim away.’
    • ‘Otoliths range in size from one-tenth of an inch to one inch long and are found in the heads of all fishes except sharks, lampreys and rays.’
    • ‘Moving on to the southern end of Koh Pi, these two fishermen landed two 5 lb queen fish, a sand ray and a barracuda.’
    • ‘Like other rays and sharks, sawfish grow slowly, mature late, and have only a few young.’
    • ‘On average fully half of the animals caught on long lines can't be sold and are thrown away - manta rays, sea lions, sea birds.’
    • ‘The large lagoon and break in the reef attract many species, including dugongs, whale sharks, dolphins and manta rays.’
    • ‘Thus, the tails of rays may develop barbs & stingers, with or without toxic secretions.’
    • ‘Thornback and blond rays are most often seen, with brill, plaice, sole, flounder and even turbot on occasion.’
    • ‘Groupers, jacks and barracuda seek refuge in the wrecks, while large marble rays cruise the sandy flats.’
    • ‘Tropical fish haunt its few coral reefs, and whale sharks and giant Pacific manta rays feed on its plankton.’
    • ‘They had caught a manta ray and said it was good eating.’
    • ‘Turning, we saw a spotted eagle ray descend the reef wall and glide over the plateau.’
    • ‘Meanwhile a manta ray passed overhead like a modern stealth bomber.’
    • ‘On the second dive we spot a manta ray and an enormous grouper.’
    • ‘And it doesn't get much more unusual than having mantra rays and starfish witnessing your wedding day.’

Origin

Middle English from Old French raie, from Latin raia.

Pronunciation

ray

/reɪ/

Main definitions of ray in English

: ray1ray2ray3

ray3

(also re)

noun

  • 1Music
    (in tonic sol-fa) the second note of a major scale.

    1. 1.1The note D in the fixed-doh system.

Origin

Middle English re, representing (as an arbitrary name for the note) the first syllable of resonare, taken from a Latin hymn (see solmization).

Pronunciation

ray

/reɪ/