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[uh-wosh, uh-wawsh] /əˈwɒʃ, əˈwɔʃ/
adjective, adverb
  1. just level with or scarcely above the surface of the water, so that waves break over the top.
  2. overflowing with water, as the upper deck of a ship in a heavy sea.
covered with water.
washing about; tossed about by the waves.
covered, filled, or crowded:
streets awash with shoppers; a garden awash in brilliant colors.
Origin of awash
First recorded in 1825-35; a-1 + wash


[ah-wahsh] /ˈɑ wɑʃ/
a river in E Ethiopia, flowing NE through the Great Rift Valley to near the Djibouti border. 500 miles (805 km) long.
Also, Hawash [hah-wahsh] /ˈhɑ wɑʃ/ (Show IPA). Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for awash
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The bull followed, deeper and deeper, till his sides were awash.

    Wood Folk at School William J. Long
  • Because it's awash an' visible only at the fall o' the spring tides.

    The Grain Ship Morgan Robertson
  • She were all awash, though, sir, at high-water this morning!

    Bob Strong's Holidays John Conroy Hutcheson
  • The boat was some fifty yards from land by now, and was awash in a broken current.

    Hurricane Island

    H. B. Marriott Watson
  • My idea is they used that in the air, when they were running on the surface or just awash.

British Dictionary definitions for awash


adverb, adjective (postpositive) (nautical)
at a level even with the surface of the sea
washed over by the waves
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 awash

1825, originally nautical, "on the level of, flush with," from a- (1) "on" + wash (n.). Figurative use by 1912.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for awash



  1. Full of a liquid; full to surfeit: Dr Johnson was awash in tea, drinking thirty cups each day
  2. Overwhelmed with; drowning in: The dean was awash in niggling student complaints

Related Terms

decks awash

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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