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
Origin of washout
Related Words for wash outinvalidate, annul, veto, void, undo, abolish, restrict, quash, offset, negate, abrogate, repeal, rescind, torpedo, annihilate, expunge, exterminate, ravage, erase, eliminate
- erosion of the earth's surface by the action of running water
- a narrow channel produced by this erosion
- a total failure or disaster
- an incompetent person
- 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.
"disappointing failure," 1902, from verbal phrase wash out "obliterate, cancel," attested from 1570s, hence colloquial sense of "to call off (an event) due to bad weather, etc."
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.
Remove or be removed by washing; also, cause to fade by laundering. For example, Give it to me; I'll wash out that stain, or The bleach has really washed out that bright print. [Mid-1700s]
Wear away or be worn away by the flow of water, as in The river rose and washed out the dam, or The road has completely washed out. [Mid-1700s]
Deplete or be depleted of energy, as in Working on her feet all day just washed her out, or I just washed out after that long tennis match. [Mid-1800s]
Eliminate or be eliminated as unsatisfactory, as in He washed out of medical school after just one year, or After only two months as chairman I washed out. [Colloquial; early 1900s]
Cancel owing to bad weather, as in The picnic was washed out. [Colloquial; early 1900s] Also see washed out.
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