\ 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

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

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


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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But draining its own stockpiles may leave the market more nervous about future supply outages, and they are already said to be at a low level. David Sheppard, Los Angeles Times, "Attack on Saudi facility exposes world economy’s ‘Achilles heel’," 16 Sep. 2019 Town officials say residents have complained for years about the possibility that pollution was draining out of the old dump. Gregory B. Hladky, courant.com, "An Ellington man’s well tested positive for PFAS pollution in February. It was six months until supplies of bottled water arrived.," 13 Sep. 2019 Three hundred meters below ground, the company needs to survey and drain hundreds of miles of tunnels. Lauren Kent And Nina Dos Santos, CNN, "Britain's last tin mine could reopen as tech companies chase ethical metals," 13 Sep. 2019 Just by himself, Curry could make a huge difference, draining 3-pointers to shackle any opponent’s dreams. Bruce Jenkins, SFChronicle.com, "Disgraced USA Basketball needs revival at the Olympics," 12 Sep. 2019 For Xero Shoes, which manufactures its shoes in China, tariffs have not only pushed up costs but have drained a huge amount of management time. Aldo Svaldi, The Denver Post, "Tariffs squeezing Colorado exporters and importers alike," 12 Sep. 2019 Water draining straight from the melting glacier can vary over just a few hours, depending on the weather. Tim Appenzeller, Science | AAAS, "Global warming has made iconic Andean peak unrecognizable," 11 Sep. 2019 From there, Perryville went back to the ground and drained the clock like a vampire on a 30-day fast. Chris Jeter, baltimoresun.com, "Four Harford County football teams open play with wins," 7 Sep. 2019 In Charleston, at the corner of Calhoun and Washington streets near the state aquarium, John Rivers and daughters, Martha and Caroline, and son, Minott, raked tree debris out of storm drains. John Bacon, USA TODAY, "‘Still a very dangerous storm’: Dorian nears North Carolina coast as Category 1 hurricane," 5 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Another Plymouth resident said his drains had overflowed. Jeremy C. Fox, BostonGlobe.com, "Region drying out after flooding, overnight storms," 12 July 2019 For two days, the 58-year-old woman has been racing around her midtown Bungalow trying to make sure her storm drains are clear of debris. Tim Craig, Washington Post, "Anxiety grips New Orleans as residents flee city, brace for heavy rain and hurricane-force winds," 12 July 2019 Ramos also suggests checking the pool's water clarity and ensuring its drain is visible. Erin Strybis, chicagotribune.com, "Drowning happens so easily. Here’s what parents get wrong about water safety.," 5 July 2019 Once it's had its bath, take your ring out for a rinse: Run it under a steady stream of warm water—making sure your sink drain is stopped—and turn it around so the water can run over the top and bottom of the ring. Glamour, "How to Clean Your Engagement Ring at Home (and What Not to Do)," 21 June 2019 Its alleys are spotless, its drains regularly washed down with water and its houses painted in bright crayon colors and decorated with plants. Helen Regan And Omar Khan, CNN, "India's trash mountains are a fetid symbol of the country's plastic problem," 7 June 2019 Ponds form and later drain, hastening the collapse of even more frozen soils. National Geographic, "https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/08/how-abrupt-permafrost-thaw-threatens-arctic-feature.html," 16 Aug. 2019 Iron Mountain’s drain on the S&P: 0.08 point, according to Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices. Asjylyn Loder, WSJ, "The Price of Recycled Paper Is Weighing Down This REIT," 11 July 2019 The developer has spent almost $1 million in construction costs for infrastructure like gas, electrical, water, exhaust hood, floor drains, grease traps. Roland Li, SFChronicle.com, "Chain store bans in San Francisco leave more shops empty, critics say," 7 July 2019

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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Statistics for drain

Last Updated

22 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for drain

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

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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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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).


to spread over or through

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