• Gray


    • enPR: grā, IPA: /ɡɹeɪ/
    • Rhymes: -eɪ
    • Homophones: grey, greige

    Origin 1

    Alternative forms

    • grey used in the UK and the Commonwealth and also in the US

    From Old English grǣġ, from Proto-Germanic *grēwaz (compare Dutch grauw, German grau, Old Norse grár), from Pre-Germanic *ǵrēwo, from Proto-Indo-European *ǵʰer ("to shine, to glow") (compare Latin rāvus ("grey"), Old Church Slavonic зьрѭ (zĭrjǫ, "to see, to glance"), Russian зреть ("to watch, to look at") (archaic), Lithuanian žeriù ("to shine")).

    Full definition of gray



    spelled "grey" in the UK and the Commonwealth
    1. Having a color somewhere between white and black, as the ash of an ember.
      • Isaac NewtonThese grey and dun colors may be also produced by mixing whites and blacks.
    2. Dreary, gloomy.
    3. Having an indistinct, disputed or uncertain quality.
    4. Relating to older people.the gray dollar, i.e. the purchasing power of the elderly
      • Amesgrey experience

    Usage notes

    A mnemonic for remembering which spelling is used where: grey is the English spelling, while gray is the American spelling. However, grey is also found in American English.


    spelled "grey" in the UK and the Commonwealth
    1. To become gray.My hair is beginning to gray.
    2. To cause to become gray.
    3. (demography, slang) To turn progressively older, in the context of the population of a geographic region.
      the graying of America



    (plural grays)
    spelled "grey" in the UK and the Commonwealth
    1. An achromatic colour intermediate between black and white.
    2. (chiefly US, ufology) an extraterrestrial creature with grayish skin, bulbous black eyes, and an enlarged head.
    3. (two-up) A penny with a tail on both sides, used for cheating.Sidney J. Baker, The Australian Language, second edition, 1966, chapter XI section 3, page 243

    Origin 2

    Named after Louis Harold Gray.



    (plural grays)
    1. In the International System of Units, the derived unit of absorbed dose of radiation (radiation absorbed by a patient); one joule of energy absorbed per kilogram of the patient's mass. Symbol: Gy

    Derived terms


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