verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

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


Nearby words

  1. dragsville,
  2. draguignan,
  3. dragée,
  4. drahthaar,
  5. drail,
  6. drain rod,
  7. drainage,
  8. drainage basin,
  9. drainage tube,
  10. drainage wind


    go down the drain,
    1. to become worthless or profitless.
    2. to go out of existence; disappear.

Origin of drain

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

Related forms
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for drain

British Dictionary definitions for drain



a pipe or channel that carries off water, sewage, etc
an instance or cause of continuous diminution in resources or energy; depletion
surgery a device, such as a tube, for insertion into a wound, incision, or bodily cavity to drain off pus, etc
electronics the electrode region in a field-effect transistor into which majority carriers flow from the interelectrode conductivity channel
down the drain wasted


(tr often foll by off) to draw off or remove (liquid) fromto drain water from vegetables; to drain vegetables
(intr often foll by away) to flow (away) or filter (off)
(intr) to dry or be emptied as a result of liquid running off or flowing awayleave the dishes to drain
(tr) to drink the entire contents of (a glass, cup, etc)
(tr) to consume or make constant demands on (resources, energy, etc); exhaust; sap
(intr) to disappear or leave, esp graduallythe colour drained from his face
(tr) (of a river, etc) to carry off the surface water from (an area)
(intr) (of an area) to discharge its surface water into rivers, streams, etc
Derived Formsdrainable, adjective

Word Origin for drain

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

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 drain
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for drain




A device, such as a tube, inserted into the opening of a wound or into a body or dental cavity to facilitate discharge of fluid or purulent material.


To draw off a liquid gradually as it forms.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

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.