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[wosh-bawrd, -bohrd, wawsh-] /ˈwɒʃˌbɔrd, -ˌboʊrd, ˈwɔʃ-/
a rectangular board or frame, typically with a corrugated metallic surface, on which clothes are rubbed in the process of washing.
a baseboard around the walls of a room.
Also called splashboard. Nautical.
  1. a thin, broad plank fastened to and projecting above the gunwale or side of a boat to keep out the spray and sea.
  2. a similar board on the sill of a port.
resembling a washboard in being rough and bumpy:
a washboard roadbed.
Origin of washboard
First recorded in 1735-45; wash + board
Related forms
washboardy, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for washboard
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He reached for the washboard as he ceased, and smiled lovingly on his mother.

    The Widow O'Callaghan's Boys Gulielma Zollinger
  • The ridges in a washboard help to clean the clothes that are rubbed over them.

    Common Science Carleton W. Washburne
  • The wind came in gusts, and now every flaw carried her down to the washboard.

    The Coming Wave Oliver Optic
  • "I've had enough of this thing," said Charley, clinging to the washboard behind him.

    The Coming Wave Oliver Optic
  • She is through with the back-breaking battling trough 264 and the washboard.

    Blue Ridge Country Jean Thomas
  • They bent to the plow and the washboard when we were helpless.

    A Pioneer Mother Hamlin Garland
British Dictionary definitions for washboard


a board having a surface, usually of corrugated metal, on which esp formerly, clothes were scrubbed
such a board used as a rhythm instrument played with the fingers in skiffle, Country and Western music, etc
a less common US word for skirting board
  1. a vertical planklike shield fastened to the gunwales of a boat to prevent water from splashing over the side
  2. Also called splashboard. a shield under a port for the same purpose
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 washboard

clothes-cleaning device, 1882, from wash (v.) + board (n.1). As a percussion instrument, attested from 1925; in reference to abdominal muscles, recorded from 1950 in boxing jargon.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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