drain

1 of 2

verb

drained; draining; drains

transitive verb

1
a
: 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
2
a
: 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
3
a
: to flow off gradually
b
: to disappear gradually : dwindle
his nervousness drained away, as it always didH. A. Sinclair
drainer noun

drain

2 of 2

noun

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
3
a
: the act of draining
b
: a gradual outflow or withdrawal : depletion
a net drain from the East of five million soulsG. W. Pierson
4
electronics : an electrode in a field-effect transistor toward which charge carriers move compare gate, source
Phrases
down the drain
: to a state of being wasted or irretrievably lost
All their hard work went down the drain.
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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
House, the man people love to hate, drained a 3 on the opening possession and turned to scream at the student section that was already hounding him. Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, 17 Feb. 2024 The gang used social media to recruit thieves to snatch specific model phones, according to the NYPD, and then used hackers to break into them and drain bank accounts and payment apps. Michael Ruiz, Fox News, 14 Feb. 2024 In the 1920s, the Soviet government began to drain the sea for irrigation of cotton and other cash crops. Victoria Milko, Quartz, 8 Feb. 2024 But while lipedema is an accumulation of abnormal fat, lymphedema is caused by tissue swelling that is triggered by a protein-rich fluid buildup that hasn’t been drained by the lymphatic system. Elizabeth Siegel, Allure, 8 Feb. 2024 How Long to Press Tofu If your recipe doesn't say how long to press the tofu, any time draining and removing the moisture is going to benefit your final dish. Katlyn Moncada, Better Homes & Gardens, 2 Feb. 2024 Policies continue to drain wealth and make a buck any way it can be made to benefit the system white people gain. Tiffany Eve Lawrence, Parents, 4 Feb. 2024 The Sun’s new owner, Sinclair Broadcast Group’s David Smith, made his fortune plundering local broadcast news, draining their local community value and turning them into outlets centered on national politics, rather than local issues, with a right-wing slant that mirrored his own. Matthew Jordan, The Conversation, 1 Feb. 2024 Like a lymphatic massage or using a gua sha tool, dry brushing helps detoxify your body by targeting the lymphatic system (a part of the immune system), draining the fluid back into your bloodstream to release the buildup of toxins in the body and reduce cellulite. India Espy-Jones, Essence, 1 Feb. 2024
Noun
To better understand the implications of this major new drain on the US electric grid, the EIA will be performing monthly analyses of bitcoin operations during the first half of 2024. John Timmer, Ars Technica, 2 Feb. 2024 Experienced cookbook authors, cooking teachers and even a chef insisted there was no reason to pour that stock down the drain. Kathleen Purvis, Charlotte Observer, 31 Jan. 2024 The scene in question sees Elordi's character Felix having a moment of solo intimacy in a bathtub, before Oliver (Barry Keoghan) proceeds to drink the leftover bathwater flowing down the drain. Jen Juneau, Peoplemag, 19 Jan. 2024 End of carousel 3 Take advantage of your freezer A lot of money goes down the drain when food is wasted, which is why the freezer is so key. Washington Post, 19 Jan. 2024 The valley functioned as a drain for the mountains of the Sierra Nevada, sluicing trillions of gallons of water out to the ocean every spring. Jake Bittle, WIRED, 6 Jan. 2024 Haredim account for about 13% of Israel’s population of more than 9 million, but their average family size of about seven children is a drain on social welfare spending. Jeffrey Fleishman, Los Angeles Times, 25 Jan. 2024 In a conventional SiC JFET, the drain is at the bottom of the device, connected to the substrate. IEEE Spectrum, 16 Jan. 2024 Periodically, the tray is flooded with water from the reservoir, thus allowing the plants to soak in nutrients through the container drain holes. Michelle Ullman, Better Homes & Gardens, 5 Jan. 2024 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Verb and Noun

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

First Known Use

Verb

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

Noun

1552, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near drain

Cite this Entry

“Drain.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/drain. Accessed 21 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

drain

1 of 2 verb
1
a
: to draw off or flow off gradually or completely
drain water from a tank
b
: to exhaust physically or emotionally
2
: to make or become gradually dry or empty
drain a swamp
drained the country of its resources
drainer noun

drain

2 of 2 noun
1
: a means (as a pipe, channel, or sewer) of draining
2
a
: the act of draining
b
: a gradual using up
3
: something that causes a using up
a drain on our resources

Medical Definition

drain

1 of 2 transitive verb
1
a
: 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 earH. G. Armstrong

intransitive verb

: to flow off gradually
blood draining from a wound

drain

2 of 2 noun
: a tube or cylinder usually of absorbent material for drainage of a wound see cigarette drain

More from Merriam-Webster on drain

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