\ 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.

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Then, drain the engine oil by removing the screw cap and tilting the mower on its side so the excess oil drains out into a pan or bucket. Tribune News Service, al, 18 May 2022 Once the hat has soaked, drain the dirty wash water and rinse the hat well with clean water. Jolie Kerr, Better Homes & Gardens, 13 May 2022 The monetary authority’s purchase of Hong Kong dollars will drain liquidity from the local financial system, helping push up borrowing costs. Dave Sebastian, WSJ, 12 May 2022 The next day, drain off the water and put chickpeas in a pot. Mackensy Lunsford, USA TODAY, 12 May 2022 Suspend the cloth ball (try using a cabinet handle) and let slowly drain for 12-24 hours at room temperature. Give the bundle a squeeze to remove any remaining excess whey. Aly Walansky, Forbes, 28 Dec. 2021 Water regularly and thoroughly and let water drain through. oregonlive, 18 Oct. 2021 Let the oil drain completely, then remove the cover. Ben Wojdyla, Popular Mechanics, 20 Sep. 2021 Let soak to crisp up, at least 10 minutes, then drain, dry and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Sarah Karnasiewicz, WSJ, 6 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Blackwell could be seen on surveillance video retrieving a bottle of acidic drain cleaner from his satchel. Todd Richmond, ajc, 18 May 2022 But that snow would get hauled off by municipal trucks and sit in snow dump sites, getting into the storm drain system and melting into the ground. Morgan Krakow, Anchorage Daily News, 3 Jan. 2022 The solution is to either bring the Jackery into the tent with you, or house it in a cooler with the cords running out the drain hole. Wes Siler, Outside Online, 23 Dec. 2021 Some differentials have a drain plug; others require you to remove the housing cover. Ben Wojdyla, Popular Mechanics, 20 Sep. 2021 Humans have been expanding the size of this drain hole for more than a century, beginning in the 1850s, when shallow choke points in the channel were scraped away so schooners could sail up from Lake Erie. Dan Egan, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 23 Aug. 2021 Minnesota law requires boaters and anglers to clean their watercrafts and trailers of aquatic plants and prohibited invasive species, keep drain plugs removed during transport and dispose of unwanted bait in the trash. Star Tribune, 3 July 2021 Place the flange over the drain hole in the sink and screw the tailpiece to the flange. Kelly Allen, House Beautiful, 17 June 2021 Add cool water to cover, gently swirl the rice around for 20 seconds with your fingers, then tip all of the starchy water out, taking care not to let the rice grains fall down the drain. Washington Post, 5 May 2022 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near drain




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Statistics for drain

Last Updated

23 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Drain.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/drain. Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for drain


\ 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.


transitive verb
\ 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

More from Merriam-Webster on drain

Nglish: Translation of drain for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of drain for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about drain


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