[ wosh-bawrd, -bohrd, wawsh- ]
/ ˈwɒʃˌbɔrd, -ˌboʊrd, ˈwɔʃ- /


a rectangular board or frame, typically with a corrugated metallic surface, on which clothes are rubbed in the process of washing.
a baseboard around the walls of a room.
Also called splashboard. Nautical.
  1. a thin, broad plank fastened to and projecting above the gunwale or side of a boat to keep out the spray and sea.
  2. a similar board on the sill of a port.


resembling a washboard in being rough and bumpy: a washboard roadbed.

Nearby words

  1. wash.,
  2. washable,
  3. washateria,
  4. washaway,
  5. washbasin,
  6. washbowl,
  7. washcloth,
  8. washday,
  9. washdown,
  10. washed out

Origin of washboard

First recorded in 1735–45; wash + board

Related formswash·board·y, adjective

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

Examples from the Web for washboard

British Dictionary definitions for washboard


/ (ˈwɒʃˌbɔːd) /


a board having a surface, usually of corrugated metal, on which esp formerly, clothes were scrubbed
such a board used as a rhythm instrument played with the fingers in skiffle, Country and Western music, etc
a less common US word for skirting board
  1. a vertical planklike shield fastened to the gunwales of a boat to prevent water from splashing over the side
  2. Also called: splashboarda shield under a port for the same purpose
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 washboard



clothes-cleaning device, 1882, from wash (v.) + board (n.1). As a percussion instrument, attested from 1925; in reference to abdominal muscles, recorded from 1950 in boxing jargon.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper