verb (used with object)
- to subject (earth or ore) to the action or force of water in order to separate valuable material.
- to separate (valuable material) in this way.
verb (used without object)
- an upper surface so inclined as to shed rain water from a building.
- any member of a building having such a surface.
- to clean completely by washing: to wash down a car.
- to facilitate the swallowing of (food or medicine) by drinking water or other liquid: to wash down a meal with a glass of wine.
- to be removed by washing: The stain wouldn't wash out.
- to damage or demolish by the action of water: The embankment was washed out by the storm.
- Informal.to fail to qualify or continue; be eliminated: to wash out of graduate school.
- to become dim, indistinct, or blurred: The face of the watch washes out in sunlight.
- to wash one's face and hands: Aren't you going to wash up? Dinner is almost ready.
- to wash (dishes, flatware, pots, etc.): I'll wash up the dishes, don't bother. We had someone in to wash up after the party.
- to end, especially ignominiously (usually in the passive): After that performance, he's all washed up as a singer.
- to have a good or satisfactory result; turn out eventually: The situation may look hopeless now, but it will all come out in the wash.
- to be revealed; become known.
Origin of wash
Synonyms for wash
- euphemisticto go to the lavatory
- (usually foll by of)to refuse to have anything more to do (with)
- any medicinal or soothing lotion for application to a part of the body
- (in combination)an eyewash
- the technique of making wash drawings
- See wash drawing
Word Origin for wash
late Old English wæsc "act of washing" (see wash (v.)). Meaning "clothes set aside to be washed" is attested from 1789; meaning "thin coat of paint" is recorded from 1690s; sense of "land alternately covered and exposed by the sea" is recorded from mid-15c.
Old English wascan, wæscan, from Proto-Germanic *watskanan (cf. Old Norse vaska, Middle Dutch wasscen, Dutch wassen, German waschen), from stem *wat-, the source of water. Related: Washed; washing. Used mainly of clothes in Old English (the principal verb for washing the body, dishes, etc. being þwean). Washed-out "faded" is from 1837. Washed up is 1923 theater slang, from notion of washing up at the end of a job.
In addition to the idioms beginning with wash
- wash down
- washed out
- washed up
- wash one's dirty linen in public
- wash one's hands of
- wash out
- wash up
- come out in the wash
- won't wash