\ 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 Moseley had to drain her savings account to clear her name. Jon Schuppe, NBC News, "In Nevada, drivers can be arrested for unpaid tickets. Activists are fighting to change that.," 8 May 2021 Put peppers in a colander over a sink to drain for 3-5 hours. Beth Segal, cleveland, "Eid Al-Fitr: The sweet holiday of festive foods," 7 May 2021 On numerous occasions, Oklahoma City’s youngsters kept a proper defensive stance and rotated at the right time, only for Curry to weave through traffic for an up-and-under layup or drain a deep 3-pointer. Connor Letourneau, San Francisco Chronicle, "Steph Curry leads Warriors to critical win over lottery-bound Thunder," 6 May 2021 Next, faced with 36-degree liquid and lacking a handy door to climb onto Titanic style (or, ahem, Rose style), June simply feels around for seven seconds and then pulls a plug to drain the milk. Hillary Kelly, Vulture, "The Handmaid’s Tale Recap: Come On, Feel the Illinoise," 5 May 2021 There's no quicker way to drain the humor from a situation than to deconstruct all the work that goes into making said situation humorous. Kristen Baldwin, EW.com, "Hacks review: Jean Smart and Hannah Einbinder kill as comedians at odds," 5 May 2021 Recent reports have surfaced of gig workers for other companies being targeted by scammers seeking to gain access to worker accounts and drain their earnings. Sara Ashley O'brien, CNN, "Instacart shoppers demand answers over alleged wrongfully deactivated accounts," 30 Apr. 2021 Raised beds drain and warm much sooner and can give your plants a nice head start. Paul Cappiello, The Courier-Journal, "Here's why you shouldn't rush to plant your garden just because it's Kentucky Derby Week," 29 Apr. 2021 Turn shells over and lightly season with more salt and pepper; leave them cut-side down so any excess liquid will drain out. Kim Sunée, Anchorage Daily News, "Stuffed mirlitons give Alaska spot prawns a Louisiana-inspired kick," 29 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Perhaps this energy drain helps explain why, according to an analysis of preindustrial Finnish birth records, women who birthed many sons had shorter life spans than women who had fewer sons or many daughters. Abigail Tucker, Washington Post, "Moms: You shaped your children, but the reverse is true, too — down to your very cells," 6 May 2021 Charlie LaFevers, 38, was pulled into a spillway while attempting to repair a drain clogged by recent flooding, the sheriff’s office said. Brianna Kwasnik, Arkansas Online, "Man, 38, drowns while unclogging drain at Crown Lake, authorities say," 3 May 2021 Failing to properly capture these changes can result in a lot of remedial activity by an organization’s accounting department and can also result in higher audit fees, damage to a company’s credibility and a drain on internal resources. Marc Betesh, Forbes, "Pandemic Impact: Understanding, Utilizing And Capturing Important Lease Clauses," 27 Apr. 2021 There also has been a talent drain via free agency in recent years. BostonGlobe.com, "Taking stock of the Bruins after the trade deadline," 17 Apr. 2021 His views of the war as a drain on American lives and resources haven't changed since then. Kevin Liptak, CNN, "Biden draws on long history with the war in Afghanistan as he prepares to announce troop withdrawal," 14 Apr. 2021 Talent drain: In his first term, Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish awarded many six-figure salaries, some with controversial signing bonuses or other private-sector-style perks, in order to attract top talent to run the government. Cameron Fields, cleveland, "20 NFL prospects and 3,000 vaccinated fans expected at NFL Draft Main Stage: The Wake Up for Thursday, April 1, 2021," 1 Apr. 2021 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

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

11 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Drain.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/drain. Accessed 17 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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