handwashing

noun

hand·​wash·​ing ˈhand-ˌwȯ-shiŋ How to pronounce handwashing (audio)
-ˌwä-
variants or hand-washing
1
: the act or activity of washing one's hands
Some 80 percent of your exposure to germs occurs through touch, making proper handwashing key to protecting yourself.Andrew Weil, Self Healing, December 2004
2
: the act or activity or washing something by hand rather than by using a machine
delicate fabrics that require hand-washing
hand-wash
ˈhand-ˌwȯsh How to pronounce handwashing (audio)
-ˌwäsh
transitive verb
hand-washed; hand-washing; hand-washes
… cotton that he said had to be hand-washed in lukewarm water … John Updike, "Beautiful Husbands" in Trust Me, 1987

Word History

First Known Use

1793, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of handwashing was in 1793

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

Dictionary Entries Near handwashing

Cite this Entry

“Handwashing.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/handwashing. Accessed 27 May. 2024.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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