\ ˈdrān How to pronounce drain (audio) \
drained; draining; drains

Definition of drain

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to draw off (liquid) gradually or completely drained all the water out of the pool
b : to cause the gradual disappearance of drain the region's wealth
c : to exhaust (see exhaust entry 1 sense 1b) physically or emotionally feeling drained at the end of a long workday
2a : to make gradually dry drain a swamp
b : to carry away the surface water of the river that drains the valley
c : to deplete or empty by or as if by drawing off by degrees or in increments drained the country of its resources
d : to empty by drinking the contents of drain a mug of beer
3 sports : drop sense 7c, sink drain the putt drained two free throws
4 obsolete : filter

intransitive verb

1 : to become emptied or freed of liquid by its flowing or dropping waiting for the tub to drain
2 : to discharge surface or surplus water drains into the Gulf of Mexico
3a : to flow off gradually
b : to disappear gradually : dwindle his nervousness drained away, as it always did— H. A. Sinclair



Definition of drain (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a means (such as a pipe) by which usually liquid matter is drained
2 : something that causes depletion : burden a drain on the city's resources
3a : the act of draining
b : a gradual outflow or withdrawal : depletion a net drain from the East of five million souls— G. W. Pierson
4 electronics : an electrode in a field-effect transistor toward which charge carriers move — compare gate, source
down the drain
: to a state of being wasted or irretrievably lost All their hard work went down the drain.

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Other Words from drain


drainer noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for drain

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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Choose the Right Synonym for drain


deplete, drain, exhaust, impoverish, bankrupt mean to deprive of something essential to existence or potency. deplete implies a reduction in number or quantity so as to endanger the ability to function. depleting our natural resources drain implies a gradual withdrawal and ultimate deprivation of what is necessary to an existence. personal tragedy had drained him of all spirit exhaust stresses a complete emptying. her lecture exhausted the subject impoverish suggests a deprivation of something essential to richness or productiveness. impoverished soil bankrupt suggests impoverishment to the point of imminent collapse. war had bankrupted the nation of resources

Examples of drain in a Sentence

Verb Drain the canned tomatoes before adding them to the pot. The swamp has been drained. I was waiting for the bathtub to drain. The river drains into a lake. Years of civil war have drained the country's resources. The city's emergency fund has been drained. I feel totally drained of energy this evening. Noun The drain in the bathtub is blocked.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Nicole Pinckney drained back-to-back 3-pointers to help UAA pull away from Central Washington midway through the fourth quarter. Anchorage Daily News, "Clutch 3-pointers by Pinckney boost UAA women to 10th straight win," 10 Jan. 2020 After a putback by Tyrice Ivy Jr. restored a seven-point advantage, freshman point guard Wilhite drained his fourth 3-pointer of the night and made two free throws with 1:17 left to cut the SI deficit to four. SFChronicle.com, "Sacred Heart Cathedral boys, St. Ignatius girls prevail at Cow Palace," 4 Jan. 2020 Every time the Panthers cut the deficit to a two-possession game down the stretch, Sharpe drained a three-pointer for for the Norse (9-4, 1-0). Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Northern Kentucky 74, UW-Milwaukee 64: Losing streak in Horizon continues," 28 Dec. 2019 By the time the city’s flooded areas were drained in the mid-1800s, the vessel may have been buried beneath some 200 years of trash. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, "16th-Century Shipwreck Discovered Beneath Stockholm City Center," 25 Dec. 2019 Brian Fobbs drained seven 3-pointers and scored 33 points, both career highs, and made six free throws in the last 30 seconds as Towson topped UMBC 77-71 on Tuesday night. Baltimore Sun Staff, baltimoresun.com, "State basketball roundup: Fobbs scores 33, hits seven 3-pointers to lead Towson past UMBC, 77-71," 10 Dec. 2019 Until! Wednesday night Simmons drained a triple from the corner, his first make in 18 tries. Evan Hilbert, USA TODAY, "Man's dying wish was to see an Iowa Hawkeyes football game. He did just that on Saturday," 25 Nov. 2019 Elie Okobo drained three of their eight 3-pointers as Phoenix’s reserves owned a 24-8 advantage in bench scoring. Mike Singer, The Denver Post, "Nuggets run winning streak to five with convincing victory over Suns," 24 Nov. 2019 Taking a sack would’ve drained some 35 seconds off the clock. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Philip Rivers knows Von Miller is dangerous, even if Broncos are 0-4," 3 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Jefferson was shot once, and tossed the gun into a storm drain before getting into a waiting car, according to police. Jay R. Jordan, Houston Chronicle, "Suspect charged, new details released in Midtown Houston officer-involved shooting," 8 Jan. 2020 The chemical was leaking from the basement of the local business, down into the ground and went into a drain that emptied out onto eastbound I-696, police tweeted. Amir Vera, CNN, "A cancerous green slime was found oozing onto a Detroit highway, officials say," 21 Dec. 2019 Ho said officers saw four people remove a manhole cover and lower a rope into the drain to help two others climb out. BostonGlobe.com, "HONG KONG — Hong Kong schools reopened Wednesday after a six-day shutdown, but students and commuters faced transit disruptions as the last antigovernment protesters remained holed up on a university campus, surrounded by police.," 21 Nov. 2019 Regulators grounded the jet after the second fatal accident, turning Boeing’s largest source of revenue into a cash drain. Los Angeles Times, "Boeing’s jetliner division chief steps down amid 737 Max crisis," 22 Oct. 2019 They’re pushed by rain into storm drains and carried through rivers and creeks into the bay. Kurtis Alexander, SFChronicle.com, "Huge amounts of plastic, much of it from car tires, washing into SF Bay, study finds," 2 Oct. 2019 The streets are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood and when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown. Maya Phillips, The New Yorker, "“Watchmen,” “The Boys,” and the False Hope That Superheroes Can Save Us," 17 Dec. 2019 Ultimately, the Orioles went down the drain in 2018 and ended up trading Machado to the Dodgers at the July 31 deadline for five prospects, including outfielder Yusniel Diaz (Baseball America’s No. BostonGlobe.com, "This just in: Betts is a franchise talent, thus making rather unenviable an incoming Red Sox GM’s task of deciding whether to trade the superstar.," 8 Oct. 2019 Kamikaze stuff and another example of points being hurled down the proverbial drain. SI.com, "10 of Hugo Lloris' Greatest Goalkeeping Calamities," 30 Sep. 2019

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

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First Known Use of drain


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 4


1552, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for drain

Verb and Noun

Middle English draynen, from Old English drēahnian — more at dry

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Time Traveler for drain

Time Traveler

The first known use of drain was before the 12th century

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Statistics for drain

Last Updated

13 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Drain.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/drain. Accessed 25 January 2020.

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More Definitions for drain


How to pronounce drain (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of drain

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to remove (liquid) from something by letting it flow away or out
of a container : to become empty of a liquid
of a liquid : to flow into, away from, or out of something



English Language Learners Definition of drain (Entry 2 of 2)

: something (such as a pipe) that is used for removing a liquid from a place or container
: something that uses a lot of time, money, etc.


\ ˈdrān How to pronounce drain (audio) \
drained; draining

Kids Definition of drain

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to remove (liquid) from something by letting it flow away or out We need to drain water from the pool.
2 : to slowly make or become dry or empty drain a swamp
3 : to flow into, away from, or out of something The water slowly drained.
4 : to slowly disappear All the joy of the music drained out of him.— Mary Pope Osborne, Christmas in Camelot
5 : to tire out She was drained by the busy weekend.



Kids Definition of drain (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : something used to remove a liquid the tub's drain
2 : something that slowly empties of or uses up The long trip was a drain on Grandma's strength.
\ ˈdrān How to pronounce drain (audio) \

Medical Definition of drain

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : to draw off (liquid) gradually or completely drain pus from an abscess
b : to exhaust physically or emotionally
2 : to carry away or give passage to a bodily fluid or a discharge from drain an abscess the eustachian tube drains the middle ear— H. G. Armstrong

intransitive verb

: to flow off gradually blood draining from a wound



Medical Definition of drain (Entry 2 of 2)

: a tube or cylinder usually of absorbent material for drainage of a wound — see cigarette drain

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Comments on drain

What made you want to look up drain? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


dull or mediocre

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