Try Our Apps


90s Slang You Should Know


[dish-waw-ter, -wot-er] /ˈdɪʃˌwɔ tər, -ˌwɒt ər/
water in which dishes are, or have been, washed.
dull as dishwater / ditchwater, extremely dull; boring.
Origin of dishwater
First recorded in 1475-85; dish + water Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for dishwater
Historical Examples
  • Her hands and arms were red and dripping and from a dim region at the rear came the smell of dishwater.

    Jane Journeys On Ruth Comfort Mitchell
  • So here we are—and I'm as dull as dishwater and so lonesome!

    The Slipper Point Mystery Augusta Huiell Seaman
  • The door behind him opened jerkingly, and a scowling woman came out with a pan of dishwater in her hand.

  • Jud turned from his pan of dishwater to cast a frightened glance over his shoulder.

    Way of the Lawless Max Brand
  • It was funny to see his fat hands dabbling in dishwater; he laughed as much about—it as aunt Corinne did.

    Old Caravan Days Mary Hartwell Catherwood
  • Soon the dishwater ceased, and they felt freshly broken earth under their feet.

  • Unluckily the tub of dishwater, which Herr Boege had been assiduously mixing for the pigs, stood near.

  • This one may be interesting but badly written, or it may be beautifully expressed and as dull as dishwater.

  • He'd better pay his board bill today or she'd throw him out like dishwater.

    Plowing On Sunday Sterling North
  • Letitia's slate-pencil coffee was ambrosia for the gods, sweetest nectar, by the side of the dishwater that cook prepared.

    Wanted: A Cook Alan Dale
British Dictionary definitions for dishwater


water in which dishes and kitchen utensils are or have been washed
something resembling this: that was dishwater, not coffee
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for dishwater

also dish-water, "water where dishes have been washed," late 15c., from dish (n.) + water (n.). Used figuratively of weak broth, coffee, etc., from 1719.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for dishwater



Weak and scarcely drinkable soup, coffee, etc (1719+)

Related Terms

dull as dishwater

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with dishwater


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for dishwater

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for dishwater

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for dishwater