Definition for RAY

RAY, n.1 [Fr. raie, rayon; It. razzo, raggio, radio; Sp. and Port. rayo; from L. radius; W. rhaiz; Ir. riodh; Arm. rea, roudenn, Sans. radina. It coincides with rod and row, from shooting; extending. Hence in W. rhaiz is a spear, as well as a ray.]

  1. A line of light, or the right line supposed to be describe by a particle of light. A collection of parallel rays constitutes a beam; a collection of diverging or converging rays, a pencil. – D. Olmsted. The mixed solar beam contains, 1st caloric rays, producing heat and expansion, but not vision and color; 2nd. colorific rays, producing vision and color, but not heat not expansion; 3rd. chimical rays, producing certain effects on the composition of bodies, but neither heat, expansion, vision or color; 4th. a power producing magnetism, but whether a distinct or associated power, is not determined. It seems to be associated with the violet, more than with the other rays. – Silliman.
  2. Figuratively, a beam of intellectual light.
  3. Light; luster. The air sharpen'd his visual rag. – Milton.
  4. In botany, the outer part or circumference of a compound radiate flower. – Martyn. A plate of compressed parallelograms of cellular tissue, connecting the texture of the stem, and maintaining a communication between the center and the circumference.
  5. In ichthyology, a bony or cartilaginous ossicle in the fins of fishes, serving to support the membrane.
  6. A plant, [lolium.] – Ainsworth.
  7. Ray, for Array. [Not in use.] – Spenser. B. Jonson. Pencil of rays, a number of rays of light issuing from a point and diverging. – Encyc.

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