ray

A ray is a beam of light or radiation. Even on cloudy days, you sometimes see a ray of sunlight shine through the clouds.

In physics, a ray is a line or column of light, heat, or electromagnetic radiation (like an x-ray), while in math a ray is a line that passes through a specific point. A marine biologist would define a ray as a big fish that's related to sharks and has a wide, flat body and a long tail. The root of the first two kinds of rays is the Latin word radius, "spoke" or "staff."

Primary Meanings of ray

1.
nv
a group of nearly parallel lines of electromagnetic radiation
emit as rays
2.
n
a branch of an umbel or an umbelliform inflorescence
3.
n
the syllable naming the second (supertonic) note of any major scale in solmization
4.
n
any of the stiff bony spines in the fin of a fish
Full Definitions of ray
1

n a group of nearly parallel lines of electromagnetic radiation

Synonyms:
beam, electron beam
Types:
cathode ray
a beam of electrons emitted by the cathode of an electrical discharge tube
particle beam
a collimated flow of particles (atoms or electrons or molecules)
ion beam, ionic beam
a beam of ions moving in the same direction at the same speed
Type of:
electromagnetic radiation, electromagnetic wave, nonparticulate radiation
radiation consisting of waves of energy associated with electric and magnetic fields resulting from the acceleration of an electric charge

n a column of light (as from a beacon)

Synonyms:
beam, beam of light, irradiation, light beam, ray of light, shaft, shaft of light
Types:
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heat ray
a ray that produces a thermal effect
high beam
the beam of a car's headlights that provides distant illumination
moon ray, moon-ray, moonbeam
a ray of moonlight
sunbeam, sunray
a ray of sunlight
laser beam
a beam of light generated by a laser
low beam
the beam of a car's headlights that provides illumination for a short distance
infrared ray
a ray of infrared radiation; produces a thermal effect (as from an infrared lamp)
Type of:
light, visible light, visible radiation
(physics) electromagnetic radiation that can produce a visual sensation

n (mathematics) a straight line extending from a point

Type of:
vector
a straight line segment whose length is magnitude and whose orientation in space is direction

v emit as rays

“That tower rays a laser beam for miles across the sky”
Type of:
emit, give off, give out
give off, send forth, or discharge; as of light, heat, or radiation, vapor, etc.

v extend or spread outward from a center or focus or inward towards a center

Synonyms:
radiate
Type of:
extend, go, lead, pass, run
stretch out over a distance, space, time, or scope; run or extend between two points or beyond a certain point

v expose to radiation

Synonyms:
irradiate
Types:
bombard
direct high energy particles or radiation against
Type of:
process, treat
subject to a process or treatment, with the aim of readying for some purpose, improving, or remedying a condition
2

n a branch of an umbel or an umbelliform inflorescence

Type of:
pedicel, pedicle
a small stalk bearing a single flower of an inflorescence; an ultimate division of a common peduncle
3

n the syllable naming the second (supertonic) note of any major scale in solmization

Synonyms:
re
Type of:
solfa syllable
one of the names for notes of a musical scale in solmization
4

n any of the stiff bony spines in the fin of a fish

Type of:
spine
a sharp rigid animal process or appendage; as a porcupine quill or a ridge on a bone or a ray of a fish fin

n cartilaginous fishes having horizontally flattened bodies and enlarged winglike pectoral fins with gills on the underside; most swim by moving the pectoral fins

Types:
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crampfish, electric ray, numbfish, torpedo
any sluggish bottom-dwelling ray of the order Torpediniformes having a rounded body and electric organs on each side of the head capable of emitting strong electric discharges
sawfish
primitive ray with sharp teeth on each edge of a long flattened snout
guitarfish
primitive tropical bottom-dwelling ray with a guitar-shaped body
stingray
large venomous ray with large barbed spines near the base of a thin whiplike tail capable of inflicting severe wounds
eagle ray
powerful free-swimming tropical ray noted for `soaring' by flapping winglike fins; usually harmless but has venomous tissue near base of the tail as in stingrays
devilfish, manta, manta ray
extremely large pelagic tropical ray that feeds on plankton and small fishes; usually harmless but its size make it dangerous if harpooned
skate
large edible rays having a long snout and thick tail with pectoral fins continuous with the head; swim by undulating the edges of the pectoral fins
Pristis pectinatus, smalltooth sawfish
commonly found in tropical bays and estuaries; not aggressive
Dasyatis centroura, roughtail stingray
one of the largest stingrays; found from Cape Cod to Cape Hatteras
butterfly ray
a stingray with a short tail and a broad fin
Aetobatus narinari, spotted eagle ray, spotted ray
ray with back covered with white or yellow spots; widely distributed in warm seas
Rhinoptera bonasus, cow-nosed ray, cownose ray
large ray found along eastern coast of North America
Atlantic manta, Manta birostris
largest manta (to 22 feet across wings); found worldwide but common in Gulf of Mexico and along southern coasts of United States; primarily oceanic
Mobula hypostoma, devil ray
small manta (to 4 feet) that travels in schools
Raja batis, gray skate, grey skate
common European skate used as food
Raja erinacea, little skate
most plentiful skate in North American inshore waters in summer; to 21 inches
Raja radiata, thorny skate
cold-water bottom fish with spines on the back; to 40 inches
Raja laevis, barndoor skate
one of the largest skates (to 5 feet); an active skate easy to hook
Type of:
elasmobranch, selachian
any of numerous fishes of the class Chondrichthyes characterized by a cartilaginous skeleton and placoid scales: sharks; rays; skates

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