\ 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 And while the company hasn't been prone to significant cyberattacks, there have been instances in which customers have complained that hackers were able to access their phones and drain substantial sums from their Coinbase apps. Stephen Gandel, CBS News, "Why Coinbase could be worth as much as $100 billion. Here's who is getting rich off of it.," 14 Apr. 2021 If the hole passes the drainage test, line it with heavy plastic, make several large slits in the bottom of the plastic so water can drain, then fill the hole with good soil. Bhg.com, chicagotribune.com, "Create a patio that you love," 14 Apr. 2021 The clot affects the brain’s ability to drain blood, which can lead to brain swelling and a possible hemorrhage. Cayla Harris, San Antonio Express-News, "San Antonio providers halt Johnson & Johnson vaccines at the request of Texas officials," 13 Apr. 2021 After emptying the tub, Kohler just says to rinse, but Jacuzzi says to refill with plain water and run for two to three minutes, then drain and clean the tub. Washington Post, "How can I get rid of the gunk in my whirlpool tub?," 12 Apr. 2021 Some see rail expansion as a costly enterprise that could drain precious dollars from state coffers. Janet Moore, Star Tribune, "Biden plan could boost Amtrak potential to Chicago, Duluth," 10 Apr. 2021 Apps like this fake malicious Clubhouse app; these Android apps that can steal your bank details and take over your phone; and these Android and iOS apps that can drain your bank accounts, steal your login credentials, and other such mischief. Andy Meek, BGR, "This Android app spreads malware, so delete it right now if you have it," 7 Apr. 2021 Reserve 1 cup cooking water; drain pasta and return it to pot. Ashley Rodriguez, Woman's Day, "Nettle Pesto Bucatini With Spring Peas and Parmesan," 7 Apr. 2021 If standing water has been left unattended for a while or is difficult to drain, these small, brick-like pellets kill off mosquito larvae. Felicity Warner, USA TODAY, "Here's how to prevent summer's biggest backyard buzzkill," 7 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun This machine has three washing modes — standard, drain and soft — and this dial is in the middle of the washer and spinner timers. Ambar Pardilla, NBC News, "The 6 best portable washing machines of 2021 under $350," 7 Apr. 2021 That could be for mitigation improvements such as a safe room or storm shelter, sump pump, French drain or retaining wall to help protect against future disasters. Mike Cason | Mcason@al.com, al, "SBA to offer low-interest disaster loans to Alabamians affected by January tornado," 5 Apr. 2021 When water in the pit reaches a pre-determined level, the pump automatically kicks on and pumps the water to an indoor drain or outdoors through a PVC pipe. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "Keep Your Basement Flooding-Free With One of These Best Sump Pumps," 17 Mar. 2021 After soaking, drain and rinse, then put in a large-enough pot with fresh water to cover. Beth Segal, cleveland, "From Aquafaba to Za’atar: The Complete Chickpea," 11 Mar. 2021 Another potential drain on resources is the Queen’s horse racing venture at Sandringham and her other royal stables. David Mcclure, Town & Country, "The High Cost of Queen Elizabeth’s Country Homes," 19 Sep. 2020 Tile drain and nutrient releases from farm fields also are not currently regulated in Indiana, which would be difficult given the sheer number of outlets. Sarah Bowman, The Indianapolis Star, "Scrub Hub: What are drainage tiles and why are they an environmental issue?," 9 Sep. 2020 Blockages like this are typically caused by tree roots or when residents flush pre-moistened wipes down the toilet or pour cooking grease down the drain, said city spokeswoman Diane Dulken. oregonlive, "Blocked main leads to sewage overflow in streets of Southeast Portland," 28 Mar. 2021 Do not flush or pour it down the drain or mix it with other liquids. New York Times, "Children Are Consuming Hand Sanitizer. Here’s How to Keep Them Safe.," 25 Feb. 2021

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

17 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Drain.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/drain. Accessed 21 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for drain



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

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