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eyewash

[ahy-wosh, ahy-wawsh]
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noun
  1. Also called collyrium. Pharmacology. a solution applied locally to the eye for irrigation or administering medication.
  2. Informal. nonsense; bunk.
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Origin of eyewash

First recorded in 1865–70; eye + wash
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for eyewash

Historical Examples

  • The leaves and flowers are also used as expectorants, and the juice of the fruit and leaves is used as an eyewash.

    Catalogue of Economic Plants in the Collection of the U. S. Department of Agriculture

    William Saunders

  • The eye is then covered with a cloth, kept wet with an eyewash, as for external ophthalmia.

    Special Report on Diseases of the Horse

    United States Department of Agriculture

  • All the high-sounding arguments for a moral world and all the laws on the books implementing those arguments are just eyewash.

    The House from Nowhere

    Arthur G. Stangland


British Dictionary definitions for eyewash

eyewash

noun
  1. a mild solution for applying to the eyes for relief of irritation, etc
  2. informal nonsense; rubbish
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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 eyewash

n.

"a wash or lotion for the eyes," 1866, from eye (n.) + wash (n.). Colloquial use for "blarney, humbug" (1884), chiefly British, is perhaps from the notion of "something intended to obscure or conceal facts or true motives." But this, and expression my eye also may be the verbal equivalent of the wink that indicates one doesn't believe what has been said (cf. French mon oeil in same sense, accompanied by a knowing pointing of a finger to the eye).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

eyewash in Medicine

eyewash

wŏsh′)
n.
  1. A soothing solution for bathing or medicating the eye.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.