\ 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 Arrange the hearts, petal side down, on a double thick layer of paper towels and let drain for 20 minutes. Tribune News Service, cleveland, "The freedom, and serenity, in using prepared artichokes," 26 Apr. 2021 Parts of Evanston have sandy soils that drain well and dry out quickly, while others have the heavy, clay loam soils more typically found in the Chicago region. Tim Johnson, chicagotribune.com, "Haunted by last year’s garden fails? Here are common mistakes with shade, soil and plant selection to avoid this spring," 24 Apr. 2021 Let the beans drain completely in the strainer or transfer to paper towels to dry. Los Angeles Times, "How to prepare fresh fava beans for cooking," 22 Apr. 2021 In today’s era of social media overuse, there is no shortage of plant-y inspiration to drain your bank account. Tracey Lindeman, Fortune, "Plants, plants, plants: The social media plant craze," 22 Apr. 2021 This allows blood and fluid to drain away from your fingers, possibly reducing swelling in the process. Korin Miller, Health.com, "How to Get a Ring Off a Swollen Finger—And When to Know if it’s an Emergency," 22 Apr. 2021 Cover above-ground pipes, and drain in-ground sprinkler systems. Ayana Archie, The Courier-Journal, "Snowfall in Louisville 'smashed' a record overnight. Here's what's on tap next," 21 Apr. 2021 The road would also cut across at least eight streams formed since the eruption, which drain into Spirit Lake. Robert F. Service, Science | AAAS, "Planned service road near Mount St. Helens threatens to end decades of research," 21 Apr. 2021 However, anxiety seemed to drain away almost immediately after Judge Peter Cahill read the verdict, returned on the second day of deliberations. Bill Keveney, USA TODAY, "Media tenses up, then exhales as Derek Chauvin found guilty of George Floyd's murder," 21 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The Portland Trail Blazers season is circling down the drain at an alarming rate with no end in sight. oregonlive, "‘We need to play with a sense of desperation’: Portland Trail Blazers fall 120-113 to Memphis Grizzlies, season unraveling: Game rewind," 26 Apr. 2021 When hundreds of computers start pulling up pages that haven’t been accessed in years, Yahoo could see that as an attack, and a drain on the company’s resources. Kaitlyn Tiffany, The Atlantic, "Yahoo, the Destroyer," 25 Apr. 2021 After the aforementioned bacon crisping and onion sautéing, grab four (15-ounce) cans pork and beans in tomato sauce and give them a good drain. Patricia Shannon, Southern Living, "These Easy Baked Beans Are My Most Requested Summer Side Dish Recipe," 21 Apr. 2021 The costs associated with recruiting, hiring and training a new employee can be substantial, and savvy business leaders understand that constantly having to attract new talent can quickly become a financial drain. Expert Panel®, Forbes, "10 Key Strategies For Dealing With Sudden High Turnover," 20 Apr. 2021 The building’s plumbing was put to the test when a drain above an eighth-floor courtroom became clogged. Los Angeles Times, "Today’s Headlines: Biden tries to reset the climate on climate change," 15 Apr. 2021 Flushing his local loyalists down the drain of history may not be an option for Washington’s hiring classes. Washington Post, "Trump got evicted from ‘the swamp.’ Some of his people are trying to stick around.," 6 Apr. 2021 Evergreen discovered a hatch under an old area rug that led to a crawl space the client didn’t even know existed — the crawl space had an old-fashioned drain with running water going into gravel where gnats and beetles were breeding. Charlotte Klein, Curbed, "The Best Exterminators in New York," 30 Mar. 2021 At 400 West, the Folsom drain breaks off and carries some of the flow through parallel culvert a few blocks to the south. Brian Maffly, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Three old streams bring one sparkling new attraction to Salt Lake City’s west side," 29 Mar. 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

29 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Drain.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/drain. Accessed 10 May. 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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