verb (1)

less common spelling of

transitive verb

1 : to plunge into water Blanch the green beans then douse them in a bath of ice water.
2a : to throw a liquid on : drench The books were doused in gasoline and set ablaze. doused herself in perfume
b : slosh
3 [originally in argot use (douse the glim meaning "extinguish the light") and perhaps of distinct origin] : extinguish douse the lights douse the blaze

intransitive verb

: to fall or become plunged into water


verb (2)
\ ˈdau̇z How to pronounce dowse (audio) \
dowsed; dowsing

Definition of dowse (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to use a divining rod

transitive verb

: to find (something, such as water) by dowsing

Examples of dowse in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Water your potted mums from below the flowers and foliage rather than dowsing the whole thing with a blasting overhead shower. Paul Cappiello, The Courier-Journal, 20 Oct. 2017 There were drug addicts and alcoholics and women who dowsed their cleaning rags with disinfectant and huffed those poisonous and intoxicating fumes into their lungs. Sherman Alexie, The New Yorker, 5 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dowse.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of dowse

Verb (2)

1691, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for dowse

Verb (2)

origin unknown

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Cite this Entry

“Dowse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Oct. 2021.

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