\ 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.

Other Words from drain


drainer noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for drain

Synonyms: Verb

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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The patterned design on this winter tire is meant to help drain slush more effectively than its all-season counterparts and provide precision steering regardless of the weather and road conditions. Rachel Rothman, Good Housekeeping, 16 Sep. 2022 The Corps study laid out some possible ways to address the flooding, including backflow preventers that can keep creek waters from rising up in storm drains and pumps that can drain areas that sit too low to rely on gravity. Scott Dance, Baltimore Sun, 15 Sep. 2022 Many analysts thought money would drain out of the reverse-repo facility first. David Benoit, WSJ, 13 Sep. 2022 This prevents overexfoliation and the only thing worse than overexfoliation: needing to call your landlord because your body scrub clogged the shower drain again. Allure Editors, Allure, 13 Sep. 2022 Shingle Creek is the middle of a trio of creeks, including Boggy and Reedy, that drain the southwestern corner of Orange County, sending their currents ultimately to Lake Okeechobee as the headwaters of the greater Everglades ecosystem. Kevin Spear, Orlando Sentinel, 13 Sep. 2022 The Flames were able to drain the clock and escape with an impressive win over the Blazers. Evan Dudley, al, 10 Sep. 2022 Some wet, drain and dry easier or faster than others. Paul Cappiello, The Courier-Journal, 9 Sep. 2022 Hikers should also consider taking a backup map that doesn't rely on a cell phone since heat can drain phone batteries faster. ABC News, 7 Sep. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Every time a shower or a faucet is turned on in Las Vegas, the water flowing down the drain is treated at wastewater plants and recycled. The Salt Lake Tribune, 15 Sep. 2022 The Indianapolis Colts were down 17 points to the Texans in the fourth quarter, with nothing going right, another season opener disappearing down the drain. Nate Atkins, USA TODAY, 13 Sep. 2022 The Colts were down 17 points to the Texans in the fourth quarter, with nothing going right, another season opener disappearing down the drain. Nate Atkins, The Indianapolis Star, 12 Sep. 2022 Has Amazon forged the one streaming series to rule them all, or has Jeff Bezos flushed half a billion dollars down the drain? Brendan Morrow, The Week, 1 Sep. 2022 Collect yard clippings and dispose of them properly in a covered green waste trash can to keep them from causing drain blockages and washing into local waterways. San Diego Union-Tribune, 3 Sep. 2022 The number of storm drain deaths continued to rise in 2022. Topher Sanders, ProPublica, 2 Sep. 2022 Blood pooled on the pavement near a sewer drain in the parking lot. oregonlive, 30 Aug. 2022 Judith Ann Neelley handcuffed Millican to a tree at Little River Canyon in DeKalb County, injected her with drain cleaner, shot her, and threw her body into the canyon. Mike Cason | Mcason@al.com, al, 25 Aug. 2022 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near drain




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Statistics for drain

Last Updated

20 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Drain.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/drain. Accessed 1 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for drain


\ 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.


transitive verb
\ 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

More from Merriam-Webster on drain

Nglish: Translation of drain for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of drain for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about drain


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