John Ray

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Wikipedia.
Related to John Ray: Carolus Linnaeus, Carolus Linnæus

Ray or Wray, John,

1627–1705, English naturalist. He was extremely influential in laying the foundations of systematic biology. With his pupil Francis Willughby, he planned a complete classification of the vegetable and animal kingdoms and toured Europe collecting specimens. On Willughby's death, Ray organized and published the material left by his friend. Ray's own work—the botanical part of the project—includes the important Historia plantarum (3 vol., 1686–1704). Ray was the first to name and make the distinction between monocotyledons and dicotyledons. He was also the first to define and explain the term species in the modern sense of the word. Ray studied and wrote on quadrupeds, reptiles, and birds. The Ray Society for the publication of scientific works was founded in his honor in 1844.


See his Correspondence, ed. by E. Lankester (1848) and Further Correspondence, ed. by R. W. Gunther (1928); C. E. Raven, John Ray, Naturalist (2d ed. 1951).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Ray, John


Born Nov. 29, 1627, in Black Notley, Essex; died Jan. 17, 1705, in Dewlands, near Black Notley. English biologist. Fellow of the Royal Society of London (1667).

Ray was the first to compile a list of the plants of England (1670). In his three-volume Historia generalis plantarum (1686–1704) he described and classified 18,600 species. Ray proposed the first natural system of plant classification, introduced the concepts of dicotyledons and monocotyledons, and differentiated plants into those with bisexual and those with diclinous flowers. In Synopsis methodica animalium quadrupe-dum et serpentini generis (1693), Ray used the concepts of genus and species in his classification, defining a species in a way that basically coincides with the modern definition.

Ray also wrote a number of books on linguistics, folklore, and natural theology.


Raven, C. E. John Ray, Naturalist. Cambridge, 1950.
Keynes, G. L. John Ray, a Bibliography. London, 1951.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
John Ray: Their ERP systems do not allow them to extract, analyze and present information easily or in a timely manner.
''John Ray is a fully accredited China correspondent who was doing his legitimate job as a journalist.
Federal Court Judge Susan Webber Wright said in her court order that Rebecca Bush's evidence didn't prove her case against the AG, John Ray White, the Deputy Attorney General for the criminal department, and Robert Russell, who was the Chief Deputy Attorney General when she was fired.
Last night John Ray, senior partner of J&L Electrics, said: 'The bounced cheque was the final straw in what has been a sorry affair from beginning to end.
From this `particular usage, the phrase had an easy transition among the vulgar to that general application which Bottom makes of it'.(1) Unfortunately, later scholars have not been able to verify Capell's explanation, and there is strong reason to believe that the phrase is not proverbial since, as far as we can now tell, only Shakespeare or sources which derive from him use it in this precise form.(2) John Ray in English Proverbs under the heading `An Alphabet of Joculary, Nugatory, and Rustick Proverbs' lists `Hold or cut Cod-piece-point' which of course is a joke and may well be a parody of Shakespeare's phrase.(3) In any case, it was first listed by Ray in 1678, more than half a century after Shakespeare's death.
For instance, he speaks fondly of 17th-century scientist John Ray, who "stands in the long line of religious scientists who can see God at the end of their microscopes." But he has harsh words for anyone who tries to generate universal laws based on such observations.
Boarding in the house of a chemist, he studied botany at the Apothecaries' Garden in Chelsea, and soon came to the notice of John Ray (1627?-1705; eventually to become known as "the father of English natural history") and the prominent physicist and chemist Robert Boyle (1627-1691); they all became fast friends.
Jo Gladstone's work on seventeenth-century English botanist John Ray, reflects both the scientist's concern for accuracy and the extent of social alienation during the Commonwealth.
The first to do a modern job of classification was an English naturalist, John Ray (1627-1705).
"We are so pleased to introduce you to our not so little- little man, Sonny John Ray. Pushed him out yesterday 9/3/16 at 7:08 pm at a whopping 9lbs 9oz and 22 in!"
Author John Ray presents students and professionals working in a wide variety of contexts with a guide to self-teaching application development utilizing AppleAEs iOS7 platform.
John Ray may not be a household name, but he is described as the 11th greatest ever natural scientist.