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[bak-wosh, -wawsh] /ˈbækˌwɒʃ, -ˌwɔʃ/
Nautical. water thrown backward by the motion of oars, propellers, paddle wheels, etc.
Aeronautics. the portion of the wash of an aircraft that flows to the rear, usually created by the power plant.
Compare wash (def 31).
a condition, usually undesirable, that continues long after the event which caused it.
verb (used with object)
to affect, as by hitting, rocking, or splashing, with a backwash:
a powerful cutter backwashing the skiers.
to clean out (a clogged filter) by reversing the flow of fluid:
Backwash the swimming pool's filters regularly.
Origin of backwash
First recorded in 1765-75; back2 + wash
Related forms
backwasher, noun
3. aftermath, consequence, result, upshot. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for backwash
Historical Examples
  • The water is not deep enough to drown him yet, if he is not carried away by the backwash.'

  • The backwash of civilization in the Orient is not our concern.

    Peking Dust Ellen N. La Motte
  • I must write you of what I have seen, the other side, the backwash.

    The Backwash of War Ellen N. La Motte
  • One seems on the other side of creation's wall—in the backwash of the waters.

    The Secrets of a Kuttite Edward O. Mousley
  • Does the Sahib know whither the backwash of the flood had borne me?

    Soldiers Three Rudyard Kipling
  • We were starting early to see the opening of the battle and its backwash.

    Now It Can Be Told Philip Gibbs
  • By the backwash, it must be making for the dock and stair; the men in it, or one of them, for the Court.

    Gwen Wynn Mayne Reid
  • By the backwash it must be making for the dock and stair; the men in it, or one of them, for the Court.

    Gwen Wynn Mayne Reid
  • The cab took off with a rush that left Feldman in a backwash of slush and mud.

    Badge of Infamy Lester del Rey
  • That short thoroughfare forms, as it were, a backwash for the traffic of Piccadilly.

    Cynthia's Chauffeur

    Louis Tracy
British Dictionary definitions for backwash


a sucking movement of water, such as that of retreating waves Compare swash (sense 4)
water washed backwards by the motion of oars or other propelling devices
the backward flow of air set up by an aircraft's engines
a condition resulting from a previous event; repercussion
(transitive) to remove oil from (combed wool)
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 backwash

1876, "motion of a receeding wave," from back (adj.) + wash (n.).

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



Something drunk that is regurgitated or spit back out


To regurgitate or spit back out liquid

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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