or dowse

[ dous ]
/ daʊs /

verb (used with object), doused, dous·ing.

verb (used without object), doused, dous·ing.

to plunge or be plunged into a liquid.


British Dialect. a stroke or blow.

Origin of douse

First recorded in 1590–1600; origin uncertain
Can be confuseddouse dowse Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for douse

British Dictionary definitions for douse (1 of 2)




/ (daʊs) /


to plunge or be plunged into water or some other liquid; duck
(tr) to drench with water, esp in order to wash or clean
(tr) to put out (a light, candle, etc)


an immersion
Derived Formsdouser or dowser, noun

Word Origin for douse

C16: perhaps related to obsolete douse to strike, of obscure origin

British Dictionary definitions for douse (2 of 2)


/ (daʊs) /

verb (tr)

nautical to lower (sail) quickly
archaic to strike or beat


archaic a blow

Word Origin for douse

C16: of uncertain origin; perhaps related to douse 1
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

Word Origin and History for douse



1550s, "to strike, punch," which is perhaps from Middle Dutch dossen "beat forcefully" or a similar Low German word.

Meaning "to strike a sail in haste" is recorded from 1620s; that of "to extinguish (a light)" is from 1785; perhaps influenced by dout (1520s), an obsolete contraction of do out (cf. doff, don). OED regards the meaning "to plunge into water, to throw water over" (c.1600) as a separate word, of unknown origin, though admitting there may be a connection of some sort. Related: Doused; dousing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper