back·​wash ˈbak-ˌwȯsh How to pronounce backwash (audio)
: a backward flow or movement (as of water or air) produced especially by a propelling force
also : the fluid that is moving backward

Examples of backwash in a Sentence

a general recession was the backwash of the crisis in the housing market
Recent Examples on the Web The earliest object is an exquisite 1951 painting by the late Lee Mullican, once a UCLA professor, its knife-edge rays of shimmery golden light emerging from a central core to summon the birth of new worlds in the era’s backwash of hydrogen bombs and Holocaust. Christopher Knight, Los Angeles Times, 27 Mar. 2023 The Brideshead backwash lingered. The Economist, 11 June 2020 The heart’s four valves — two for each side — each sport cartilage leaflets that must be supple enough to open wide with forward flow, then billow closed to stop backwash. Tony Dajer, Discover Magazine, 18 June 2022 This backwash, otherwise known as acid reflux, can wreak havoc on the lining of your esophagus and cause that burning sensation in your throat. Lashieka Hunter, Men's Health, 21 Dec. 2022 Cleaning regularly is important because there will inevitably be some backwash in your rinsing apparatus after use, which can contain virus particles, bacteria, allergens or other irritants that were flushed from the nose, Lane said. Washington Post, 22 Apr. 2022 Rarick said backwash from the waves hitting this stretch of coastline hardened with sandbags, tarps and boulders is also disrupting the famous surf breaks. Sophie Cocke, ProPublica, 20 Oct. 2012 Watery with pebble- and fleck-size bits of squash and carrots that reminded me of sipping a toddler’s backwash. Alex Beggs, Bon Appétit, 24 Nov. 2021 Yet the bill carves out interest from muni debt from MAGI so that states and cities don’t get caught in the backwash. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 27 Sep. 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'backwash.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1837, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of backwash was in 1837

Dictionary Entries Near backwash

Cite this Entry

“Backwash.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


back·​wash ˈbak-ˌwȯsh How to pronounce backwash (audio)
: backward movement (as of water or air) produced by a propelling force (as the motion of oars)

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