View synonyms for wash



[ wosh, wawsh ]

verb (used with object)

  1. to apply water or some other liquid to (something or someone) for the purpose of cleansing; cleanse by dipping, rubbing, or scrubbing in water or some other liquid.

    Synonyms: swab, mop, launder, rinse, lave, clean

  2. to remove (dirt, stains, paint, or any matter) by or as by the action of water (usually followed by out, off, etc.):

    to wash grime out of clothing.

  3. to free from spiritual defilement or from sin, guilt, etc.:

    to be washed whiter than the snow.

  4. to bathe, wet, or moisten with water or other liquid:

    a meadow newly washed with morning dew.

    Synonyms: bedew

  5. to flow through, over, or against:

    a shore or cliff washed by waves.

    Synonyms: bathe

  6. to carry, bring, remove, or deposit (something) by means of water or any liquid, or as the water or liquid does (often followed by up, down, or along ):

    The storm washed the boat up on the shore.

    A sailor was washed overboard.

  7. to wear or diminish, as water does by flowing over or against a surface (often followed by out or away ):

    The rain had washed away the lettering on the stone.

  8. (of water) to form by flowing over and eroding a surface:

    The flood had washed a new channel through the bottom lands.

  9. Mining.
    1. to subject (earth or ore) to the action or force of water in order to separate valuable material.
    2. to separate (valuable material) in this way.
  10. to purify (a gas or gaseous mixture) by passage through or over a liquid.
  11. to cover with a watery or thin coat of color.
  12. to overlay with a thin coat or deposit of metal:

    to wash brass with gold.

verb (used without object)

  1. to wash oneself:

    After using the insecticide spray they washed completely.

  2. to wash clothes:

    Monday is the day we wash.

  3. to cleanse anything with or in water or other liquid.
  4. to undergo washing without injury, especially shrinking or fading:

    fabrics guaranteed to wash.

  5. Informal. to be found true, valid, or real when tested or closely scrutinized; stand being put to the proof:

    His honesty won't wash.

  6. to be carried or driven by water (often followed by along or ashore ):

    The boat had washed ashore in the night.

  7. to flow or beat with a lapping sound, as waves on a shore.
  8. to move along in or as in waves, or with a rushing movement, as water.
  9. to be eroded, as by a stream or by rainfall:

    a hillside that washes frequently.

  10. to be removed by the action of water (often followed by away ):

    Much of the topsoil washes away each spring.


  1. the act or process of washing with water or other liquid:

    to give the car a wash.

    Synonyms: ablution

  2. a quantity of clothes, linens, etc., washed, or to be washed, at one time:

    a heavy wash.

  3. a liquid with which something is washed, wetted, colored, overspread, etc.:

    She gave the room a wash of pale blue.

  4. the flow, sweep, dash, or breaking of water:

    The wash of the waves had drenched us.

  5. the sound made by this:

    listening to the wash of the Atlantic.

  6. water moving along in waves or with a rushing movement:

    the wash of the incoming tide.

  7. the rough or broken water left behind a moving ship, boat, etc.; wake:

    The little boats tossed about in the wash from the liner's propellers.

  8. Aeronautics. the disturbance in the air left behind by a moving airplane or any of its parts:

    wing wash.

  9. any of various liquids for grooming or cosmetic purposes:

    a hair wash.

  10. a lotion or other liquid having medicinal properties, as an antiseptic solution or the like (often used in combination):

    to apply wash to a skinned knee;



  11. Mining. minerals from which valuable material can be extracted by washing.
  12. the wearing away of the shore by breaking waves.
  13. a tract of land washed by the action of the sea or a river.
  14. a marsh, fen, or bog.

    Synonyms: morass, swamp

  15. a small stream or shallow pool.
  16. a shallow arm of the sea or a shallow part of a river.
  17. The Wash, a shallow bay of the North Sea, on the eastern coast of England. 20 miles (32 km) long; 15 miles (24 km) wide.
  18. a depression or channel formed by flowing water.
  19. Geology. alluvial matter transferred and deposited by flowing water.
  20. Also called dry wash. Western U.S. the dry bed of an intermittent stream.
  21. a broad, thin layer of color applied by a continuous movement of the brush, as in water-color painting.
  22. Also called watershed, weathering. Architecture.
    1. an upper surface so inclined as to shed rainwater from a building.
    2. any member of a building having such a surface.
  23. Metalworking. Also a thin coat of metal applied in liquid form:

    a gold wash.

  24. waste liquid matter, refuse, food, etc., from the kitchen, as for hogs; swill (often used in combination):


  25. washy or weak liquor or liquid food.
  26. the fermented wort from which the spirit is extracted in distilling.
  27. Informal. an action that yields neither gain nor loss:

    The company's financial position is a wash compared with last year.


  1. capable of being washed without shrinking, fading, etc.; washable:

    a wash dress.

verb phrase

    1. to wash one's face and hands:

      Aren't you going to wash up? Dinner is almost ready.

    2. 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.

    3. to end, especially ignominiously (usually in the passive):

      After that performance, he's all washed up as a singer.

    1. to be removed by washing:

      The stain wouldn't wash out.

    2. to damage or demolish by the action of water:

      The embankment was washed out by the storm.

    3. Informal. to fail to qualify or continue; be eliminated:

      to wash out of graduate school.

    4. to become dim, indistinct, or blurred:

      The face of the watch washes out in sunlight.

    1. to clean completely by washing:

      to wash down a car.

    2. to facilitate the swallowing of (food or medicine) by drinking water or other liquid:

      to wash down a meal with a glass of wine.



abbreviation for


  1. a combining form extracted from whitewash and added to a word that names a trend, a fad, or something otherwise deemed desirable, with the meaning “to give the appearance of,” indicating that the affiliation or association with the named thing is not genuine, as in a rebranding effort that attempts to cover up any negative facts or publicity: What real benefit is there for breast cancer research in pinkwashing products every October?

    In an effort to evade environmental regulation, heavy industry is spending vast amounts to greenwash their impact.

    Parts of the gig economy are trying to sharewash their services.

    What real benefit is there for breast cancer research in pinkwashing products every October?



/ wɒʃ /


  1. the Wash
    a shallow inlet of the North Sea on the E coast of England, between Lincolnshire and Norfolk



abbreviation for

  1. Washington



/ wɒʃ /


  1. to apply water or other liquid, usually with soap, to (oneself, clothes, etc) in order to cleanse
  2. tr; often foll by away, from, off, etc to remove by the application of water or other liquid and usually soap

    she washed the dirt from her clothes

  3. intr to be capable of being washed without damage or loss of colour
  4. (of an animal such as a cat) to cleanse (itself or another animal) by licking
  5. tr to cleanse from pollution or defilement
  6. tr to make wet or moist
  7. often foll byaway, etc to move or be moved by water

    the flood washed away the bridge

  8. (esp of waves) to flow or sweep against or over (a surface or object), often with a lapping sound
  9. to form by erosion or be eroded

    the stream washed a ravine in the hill

  10. tr to apply a thin coating of paint, metal, etc, to
  11. tr to separate (ore, precious stones, etc) from (gravel, earth, or sand) by immersion in water
  12. informal.
    intr; usually used with a negative to admit of testing or proof

    your excuses won't wash with me this time

  13. wash one's hands
    1. to go to the lavatory
    2. usually foll by of to refuse to have anything more to do (with)


  1. the act or process of washing; ablution
  2. a quantity of articles washed together
  3. a preparation or thin liquid used as a coating or in washing

    a hair wash

    a thin wash of paint

  4. med
    1. any medicinal or soothing lotion for application to a part of the body
    2. ( in combination )

      an eyewash

  5. the flow of water, esp waves, against a surface, or the sound made by such a flow
    1. the technique of making wash drawings
  6. the erosion of soil by the action of flowing water
  7. a mass of alluvial material transported and deposited by flowing water
  8. land that is habitually washed by tidal or river waters
  9. the disturbance in the air or water produced at the rear of an aircraft, boat, or other moving object
  10. gravel, earth, etc, from which valuable minerals may be washed
  11. waste liquid matter or liquid refuse, esp as fed to pigs; swill
  12. an alcoholic liquid resembling strong beer, resulting from the fermentation of wort in the production of whisky
  13. come out in the wash informal.
    to become known or apparent in the course of time

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Other Words From

  • pre·wash noun verb (used with object)
  • re·wash verb
  • un·der·wash verb
  • well-washed adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of wash1

First recorded before 900; Middle English verb washen, Old English wascan (cognate with Dutch wasschen, German waschen, Old Norse vaska ), from Proto-Germanic watskan, equivalent to wat- (root of water ) + -sk- verb suffix + -an infinitive suffix

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Word History and Origins

Origin of wash1

Old English wæscan, waxan; related to Old High German wascan; see water

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. come out in the wash,
    1. 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.

    2. to be revealed; become known.
  2. wash one's hands of. hand ( def 91 ).

More idioms and phrases containing wash

  • come out in the wash
  • won't wash

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Example Sentences

A limited edition export stout known as the Indra Kunindra came to wash it down.

Christian is the son of Mexican immigrants whose father works at a car wash and mother works at McDonalds.

First up is the larger wash still, its capacity ranging from 25,000 to 30,000 liters.

But since the government has now permitted the River God to leave the U.K., that excuse can no longer wash.

Brush the pastry with egg wash and sprinkle with fleur de sel and pepper.

He stood before the glass hung above the wash bench and 369 smoothed his hair.

Why, he ordered his chamber-maid to bring him some soap and warm water, that he might wash the sour krout off his hands.

Then said Nqong from his bath in the salt-pan, "Come and ask me about it to-morrow, because I'm going to wash."

On the wash-stand a spangled white tulle hat lay drowning in a basin half full of water.

Shiv steered into the wash room, and the doors dropped back into place.


Related Words

Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

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