\ ˈdrān \
drained; draining; drains

Definition of drain

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 obsolete : filter
2a : 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
3a : 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
4 sports : drop sense 7c, sink drain the putt drained two free throws

intransitive verb

1a : to flow off gradually
b : to disappear gradually : dwindle his nervousness drained away, as it always did— H. A. Sinclair
2 : to become emptied or freed of liquid by its flowing or dropping waiting for the tub to drain
3 : to discharge surface or surplus water drains into the Gulf of Mexico



Definition of drain (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a means (such as a pipe) by which usually liquid matter is drained
2a : the act of draining
b : a gradual outflow or withdrawal : depletion a net drain from the East of five million souls— G. W. Pierson
3 : something that causes depletion : burden a drain on the city's resources
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.

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from drain


drainer noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for drain

Synonyms: Verb

bleed, draft, draw (off), pump, siphon (also syphon), tap

Antonyms: Verb


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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


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.


The drain in the bathtub is blocked.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

While my friends spoke to their families often — in quick bursts of 10- to 15-minute check-ins — my Sundays involved marathon discussions with my mother, which were always negative and emotionally draining. Good Housekeeping, "My Parents Haven't Spoken to Me in 13 Years," 21 Dec. 2018 Rub chicken with remaining Tbsp oil, season with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper, and cook, bone side up first, until browned on all sides, 10 to 12 minutes; drain excess fat. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Creamy Thyme Chicken with Sautéed Apples and Mushrooms," 9 Oct. 2018 Now, thankfully, Target just made it even easier to fill an entire cart without draining your bank account, with a new in-house brand called Smartly, which features 70 personal-care items, most of which are under $2. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Target Launches Smartly, an Affordable In-House Brand With 70 Personal-Care Products," 8 Oct. 2018 Certainly playing a game or a video encode, or anything that works the GPU or CPU cores hard will drain the battery faster, but video playback is actually among the easiest chores a laptop can do today. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, "Dell XPS 13 vs. Dell XPS 15: Which should you buy?," 11 Sep. 2018 Needless to say, this immune response can leave you feeling drained, shaky, confused, and weak, reports the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Amy Capetta, Redbook, "6 Signs of UTI That You'll Hopefully Never Experience," 6 Aug. 2018 An iPad rests beside him next to a cup that has been drained of coffee. Sam Tanenhaus, Town & Country, "Can Chris Whittle Launch a Truly Global School?," 10 July 2018 But regulators will want to cap CDRs for fear that cash will be drained from the rest of the market. The Economist, "China tries to lure its tech firms into listing at home," 10 May 2018 Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water; drain pasta and return to pot. The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, Good Housekeeping, "Pasta with Red Pepper Alfredo," 21 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The cash drain from these enormous debts may have exacerbated the decline in output, and there is scant chance that China’s latest infusion will do much to arrest the fall. Spencer Jakab, WSJ, "How Venezuela Became China’s Money Pit," 15 July 2018 Hartzer advises using a bottle of foaming drain cleaner to flush out the pipes, but the fix might take a little more work than that. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "How to Get Rid of Those Pesky Gnats Plaguing Your Kitchen," 8 May 2018 But the pesky metal drain was no match for the royal, who is used to navigating rough terrain in her heels. Erin Hill, PEOPLE.com, "Kate Middleton Got Her Heel Stuck in a Grate This Morning, Handled It with Perfect Grace," 7 Feb. 2018 Reserve ¾ cup cooking water, drain pasta, and return to pot. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Creamy Broccolini Pasta with Chile Breadcrumbs," 19 Dec. 2018 Doing this many times a day for three or four days might help a smaller abscess rupture and drain. Isadora Baum, SELF, "8 Reasons Your Vulva or Vagina Might Get All Swollen," 30 Nov. 2018 The vortex lasted for days, large enough to swallow full-sized boats, so concerned lake officials immediately posted signs and buoys to keep visitors from getting sucked down the drain like a rubber duckie. Ken Jennings, Condé Nast Traveler, "This Texas Lake Developed a Boat-Swallowing Whirlpool," 3 Sep. 2018 Fixing a clogged drain in your shower is never an easy (or fun) process. Katina Beniaris, Country Living, "This Hair-Catching Tool With Thousands of Five-Star Reviews Is On Sale Today," 10 Aug. 2018 Promises for million-dollar condos and more anchor tenants at Westgate went down the drain. Jen Fifield, azcentral, "GoDaddy founder, who 'doesn't do anything small,' buys Westgate district in Glendale," 12 June 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of drain


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about drain

Statistics for drain

Last Updated

13 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for drain

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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 \
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 \

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on drain

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for drain

Spanish Central: Translation of drain

Nglish: Translation of drain for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of drain for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about drain

Comments on drain

What made you want to look up drain? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


tremendous in size, volume, or degree

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!