, wash·es verb, transitive
a. To cleanse, using water or other liquid, usually with soap, detergent, or bleach, by immersing, dipping, rubbing, or scrubbing: wash one's hands; wash windows.
b. To soak, rinse out, and remove (dirt or stain) with or as if with water: wash grease out of overalls.
- To make moist or wet; drench: Tears washed the child's cheeks.
- To flow over, against, or past: waves that washed the sandy shores.
- To carry, erode, remove, or destroy by the action of moving water: Heavy rains washed the topsoil away.
- To rid of corruption or guilt; cleanse or purify: wash sins away.
- To cover or coat with a watery layer of paint or other coloring substance.
a. To purify (a gas) by passing through or over a liquid, as to remove soluble matter.
b. To pass a solvent, such as distilled water, through (a precipitate).
- To separate constituents of (an ore) by immersion in or agitation with water.
- To cause to undergo a swirling action: washed the tea around in the cup.
- To cleanse something in or by means of water or other liquid.
a. To undergo washing without fading or other damage: This fabric will wash.
b. Informal To hold up under examination; be convincing: “That [proclamation], of course, will not wash” (John Hughes).
- To flow, sweep, or beat with a characteristic lapping sound: Waves washed over the pilings.
- To be carried away, removed, or drawn by the action of water.
- The act or process of washing or cleansing.
- A quantity of articles washed or intended for washing: The wash is on the back porch.
- Waste liquid; swill.
- Fermented liquid from which liquor is distilled.
- A preparation or product used in washing or coating.
- A cosmetic or medicinal liquid, such as a mouthwash.
a. A thin layer of watercolor or India ink spread on a drawing.
b. A light tint or hue: “a wash of red sunset” (Thomas Pynchon).
a. A rush or surge of water or waves.
b. The sound of this rush or surge.
a. Removal or erosion of soil by the action of moving water.
b. A deposit of recently eroded debris.
a. Low or marshy ground washed by tidal waters.
b. A stretch of shallow water.
- Western U.S. The dry bed of a stream.
- Turbulence in air or water caused by the motion or action of an oar, propeller, jet, or airfoil.
- Informal An activity, action, or enterprise that yields neither marked gain nor marked loss: “[The company] doesn't do badly. That is, it's a wash” (Harper's).
Phrasal Verbs: wash down
- Used for washing.
- Being such that washing is possible; washable.
To clean by washing with water from top to bottom: wash down the walls.
To follow the ingestion of (food, for example) with the ingestion of a liquid: washed the cake down with coffee. wash out
a. To remove or be removed by washing.
b. To cause to fade by laundering: color that had been washed out by bleach.
To carry or wear away or be carried or worn away by the action of moving water: The river rose and washed out the dam. The road has washed out five miles down the mountain.
To deplete or become depleted of vitality: By evening, I was washed out from overwork.
To eliminate or be eliminated as unsatisfactory: a football player who was washed out; an officer candidate who washed out after one month.
To cause (an event) to be rained out. wash up
To wash one's hands. Chiefly British
To wash dishes after a meal. To burn out; exhaust: all washed up as a politician.
Origin: Middle English washen
Origin: , from Old English wacsan, wǽscan; see wed-1 in Indo-European roots