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or grey

[grey] /greɪ/
adjective, grayer, grayest.
of a color between white and black; having a neutral hue.
dark, dismal, or gloomy:
gray skies.
dull, dreary, or monotonous.
having gray hair; gray-headed.
pertaining to old age; mature.
Informal. pertaining to, involving, or composed of older persons:
gray households.
old or ancient.
indeterminate and intermediate in character:
The tax audit concentrated on deductions in the gray area between purely personal and purely business expenses.
any achromatic color; any color with zero chroma, intermediate between white and black.
something of this color.
gray material or clothing:
to dress in gray.
an unbleached and undyed condition.
(often initial capital letter) a member of the Confederate army in the American Civil War or the army itself.
Compare blue (def 5).
a horse of a gray color.
a horse that appears white but is not an albino.
verb (used with or without object)
to make or become gray.
Origin of gray1
before 900; Middle English; Old English grǣg; cognate with German grau
Related forms
grayly, adverb
grayness, noun
ungrayed, adjective


[grey] /greɪ/
noun, Physics.
the standard unit of absorbed dose of radiation (such as x-rays) in the International System of Units (SI), equal to the amount of ionizing radiation absorbed when the energy imparted to matter is 1 J/kg (one joule per kilogram).
Abbreviation: Gy.
Compare rad.
1975; named in honor of Louis Harold Gray (1905-65), English radiobiologist


[grey] /greɪ/
[ey-suh] /ˈeɪ sə/ (Show IPA),
1810–88, U.S. botanist.
Robert, 1755–1806, U.S. explorer and sea captain: discovered the Columbia River.
Thomas, 1716–71, English poet. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for gray
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • This rock in the inner crater was gray, pale and ghostly in the earthlight.

    The Finding of Haldgren Charles Willard Diffin
  • It faded soon into a gray fog, with puffs of wind from the southwest again.

    Malbone Thomas Wentworth Higginson
  • The brain has not yet revealed its mysterious mechanism of gray matter.

  • Thank goodness and Mrs. gray, there are no carpets to be laid.

  • The boy, gray Cloud, was flesh of his flesh, the only child he had in the world.

    Shaman Robert Shea
British Dictionary definitions for gray


adjective, noun, verb
a variant spelling (now esp US) of grey
Derived Forms
grayish, adjective
grayly, adverb
grayness, noun


the derived SI unit of absorbed ionizing radiation dose or kerma equivalent to an absorption per unit mass of one joule per kilogram of irradiated material. 1 gray is equivalent to 100 rads Gy
Word Origin
C20: named after Louis Harold Gray (1905–65), English physicist


Thomas. 1716–71, English poet, best known for his Elegy written in a Country Churchyard (1751)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for gray

Old English græg (Mercian grei), from Proto-Germanic *grisja- "gray" (cf. Old Norse grar, Old Frisian gre, Middle Dutch gra, Dutch graw, Old High German grao, German grau), with no certain cognates outside Germanic. French gris, Spanish gris, Italian grigio, Medieval Latin griseus are Germanic loan-words.

The distinction between British grey and U.S. gray developed 20c. The noun is c.1200, from the adjective. Gray as figurative for "Southern troops in the U.S. Civil War" is first recorded 1863, in reference to their uniform color. Expression the gray mare is the better horse in reference to households ruled by wives is recorded from 1540s. The verb is 1610s (with an isolated instance from late 14c.). Related: Grayed; graying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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gray in Medicine

gray (grā)
Abbr. Gy
A unit for a specific absorbed dose of radiation equal to 100 rads.

Gray (grā), Henry. 1825?-1861.

British anatomist whose work Anatomy, Descriptive and Surgical (1858), known as Gray's Anatomy, remains a standard text.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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gray in Science
The SI derived unit used to measure the energy absorbed by a substance per unit weight of the substance when exposed to radiation. One gray is equal to one joule per kilogram, or 100 rads. The gray is named after British physicist Louis Harold Gray (1905-1965).
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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gray in Technology

A parser generator written in Forth by Martin Anton Ertl Gray takes grammars in an extended BNF and produces executable Forth code for recursive descent parsers. There is no special support for error handling. Version 3 runs under Tile Forth Release 2 by Mikael Patel.
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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Idioms and Phrases with gray
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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