[ dreyn ]
See synonyms for: draindraineddraining on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object)
  1. to withdraw or draw off (a liquid) gradually; remove slowly or by degrees, as by filtration: to drain oil from a crankcase.

  2. to withdraw liquid gradually from; make empty or dry by drawing off liquid: to drain a crankcase.

  1. to exhaust the resources of: to drain the treasury.

  2. to deprive of strength; tire.

verb (used without object)
  1. to flow off gradually.

  2. to become empty or dry by the gradual flowing off of liquid or moisture: This land drains into the Mississippi.

  1. something, as a pipe or conduit, by which a liquid drains.

  2. Surgery. a material or appliance for maintaining the opening of a wound to permit free exit of fluids.

  1. gradual or continuous outflow, withdrawal, or expenditure.

  2. something that causes a large or continuous outflow, expenditure, or depletion: Medical expenses were a major drain on his bank account.

  3. an act of draining.

  4. Physical Geography.

    • an artificial watercourse, as a ditch or trench.

    • a natural watercourse modified to increase its flow of water.

Idioms about drain

  1. go down the drain,

    • to become worthless or profitless.

    • to go out of existence; disappear.

Origin of drain

before 1000; Middle English dreynen,Old English drēhnian,drēahnian to strain, filter; akin to dry

Other words from drain

  • drain·a·ble, adjective
  • drainer, noun
  • o·ver·drain, verb
  • un·drain·a·ble, adjective
  • un·drained, adjective
  • well-drained, adjective

Words Nearby drain

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use drain in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for drain


/ (dreɪn) /

  1. a pipe or channel that carries off water, sewage, etc

  2. an instance or cause of continuous diminution in resources or energy; depletion

  1. surgery a device, such as a tube, for insertion into a wound, incision, or bodily cavity to drain off pus, etc

  2. electronics the electrode region in a field-effect transistor into which majority carriers flow from the interelectrode conductivity channel

  3. down the drain wasted

  1. (tr often foll by off) to draw off or remove (liquid) from: to drain water from vegetables; to drain vegetables

  2. (intr often foll by away) to flow (away) or filter (off)

  1. (intr) to dry or be emptied as a result of liquid running off or flowing away: leave the dishes to drain

  2. (tr) to drink the entire contents of (a glass, cup, etc)

  3. (tr) to consume or make constant demands on (resources, energy, etc); exhaust; sap

  4. (intr) to disappear or leave, esp gradually: the colour drained from his face

  5. (tr) (of a river, etc) to carry off the surface water from (an area)

  6. (intr) (of an area) to discharge its surface water into rivers, streams, etc

Origin of drain

Old English drēahnian; related to Old Norse drangr dry wood; see dry

Derived forms of drain

  • drainable, adjective

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with drain


see brain drain; down the drain.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.