- to search for underground supplies of water, metal, etc., by the use of a divining rod.
- to search for (as water) by or as if by dowsing.
Origin of dowse2
- to plunge into water or the like; drench: She doused the clothes in soapy water.
- to splash or throw water or other liquid on: The children doused each other with the hose.
- to extinguish: She quickly doused the candle's flame with her fingertips.
- Informal. to remove; doff.
- to lower or take in (a sail, mast, or the like) suddenly.
- to slacken (a line) suddenly.
- to stow quickly.
- to plunge or be plunged into a liquid.
- British Dialect. a stroke or blow.
Origin of douse
Examples from the Web for dowse
In the rooms of that society is preserved the Dowse Library.
Sing out when you're in bed, and I'll come and dowse the lights.Shining Ferry
Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch
"You are not going to Mr. and Mrs. Dowse, Violet," said he promptly.The Galaxy
And there's a pail of water and soap there by the doorway; it will do you no harm to dowse with it.The Pioneers
Katharine Susannah Prichard
"Dowse that, Billy, and bear a hand and be quiet," said Crennell.The Deemster
- a variant spelling of douse 1
- (intr) to search for underground water, minerals, etc, using a divining rod; divine
- 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
- nautical to lower (sail) quickly
- archaic to strike or beat
- archaic a blow
Word Origin and History for dowse
1690s, a south England dialect word, of uncertain origin, said to have been introduced to Devon by German miners in Elizabethan times. Related: Dowsed; dowsing.
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.