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or brain-wash, brain wash

[breyn-wosh, -wawsh] /ˈbreɪnˌwɒʃ, -ˌwɔʃ/
verb (used with object)
to cause (someone) to undergo brainwashing.
the process of brainwashing.
a subjection to brainwashing.
Origin of brainwash
First recorded in 1950-55; back formation from brainwashing
Related forms
brainwasher, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for brainwash
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • This makes any attempts to brainwash the enlisted men impracticable and a great deal of pressure is thereby removed.

British Dictionary definitions for brainwash


(transitive) to effect a radical change in the ideas and beliefs of (a person), esp by methods based on isolation, sleeplessness, hunger, extreme discomfort, pain, and the alternation of kindness and cruelty
Derived Forms
brainwasher, noun
brainwashing, noun
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 brainwash

1955 (past participle adjective brainwashed attested from 1953); see brainwashing.

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



: Your line is persuasive, virtually a brainwash


  1. To cause profound attitudinal changes, usually in a prisoner, by psychological conditioning, supplemented by drugs and physical abuse
  2. To change or influence someone's opinions or attitude by methods less stringent than those used on prisoners: They were brainwashed into joining that crazy cult

[1950s+; fr Chinese hsi nao, ''wash brain,'' which came into US use during and after the Korean War, apparently because of its use by North Koreans and their Chinese allies as custodians of US prisoners of war]

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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