\ ˈwȯsh How to pronounce wash (audio) , ˈwäsh How to pronounce wash (audio) , chiefly Midland also ˈwȯrsh How to pronounce wash (audio) or ˈwärsh \
washed; washing; washes

Definition of wash

 (Entry 1 of 4)

transitive verb

1a : to cleanse by or as if by the action of liquid (such as water)
b : to remove (something, such as dirt) by rubbing or drenching with liquid
2 : to cleanse (fur) by licking or by rubbing with a paw moistened with saliva
3a : to flush or moisten (a bodily part or injury) with a liquid
b(1) : to wet thoroughly : drench
(2) : to overspread with light : suffuse
c : to pass a liquid (such as water) over or through especially so as to carry off material from the surface or interior
4 : to flow along or dash or overflow against waves washing the shore
5 : to move, carry, or deposit by or as if by the force of water in motion houses washed away by the flood
6a : to subject (something, such as crushed ore) to the action of water to separate valuable material
b : to separate (particles) from a substance (such as ore) by agitation with or in water
c(1) : to pass through a bath to carry off impurities or soluble components
(2) : to pass (a gas or gaseous mixture) through or over a liquid to purify it especially by removing soluble components
7a : to cover or daub lightly with or as if with an application of a thin liquid (such as whitewash or varnish)
b : to depict or paint by a broad sweep of thin color with a brush
8 : to cause to swirl washing coffee around in his cup
9 : launder sense 3 how the mob washes its money through corrupt bankers— Vincent Teresa

intransitive verb

1 : to wash oneself or a part of one's body
2 : to become worn away by the action of water
3 : to clean something by rubbing or dipping in water
4a : to become carried along on water : drift cakes of ice washing along
b : to pour, sweep, or flow in a stream or current waves of pioneers washing westward— Green Peyton
5 : to serve as a cleansing agent this soap washes thoroughly
6a : to undergo laundering this dress doesn't wash well
b(1) : to undergo testing successfully : work sense 3 an interesting theory, but it just won't wash
(2) : to gain acceptance : inspire belief the story didn't wash with me
wash one's hands of
: to disclaim interest in, responsibility for, or further connection with



Definition of wash (Entry 2 of 4)

1a : a piece of ground washed by the sea or river
b : bog, marsh
c(1) : a shallow body of water
(2) : a shallow creek
d Western US : the dry bed of a stream

called also dry wash

2a : the act or process or an instance of washing or being washed
b : articles to be washed, being washed, or having been washed
3 : the surging action or sound of waves also : something resembling this action or sound the warm wash of applause that followed her … introduction — John Updike
4a : worthless especially liquid waste : refuse
b : an insipid beverage
c : vapid writing or speech
5a : a sweep or splash especially of color made by or as if by a long stroke of a brush in the gray wash of early morning
b : a thin coat of paint (such as watercolor)
c : a thin liquid used for coating a surface (such as a wall)
6 : lotion
7 : loose or eroded surface material of the earth (such as rock debris) transported and deposited by running water
b : a disturbance in a fluid (such as water or the air) produced by the passage of an airfoil or propeller
9 : a situation in which losses and gains or advantages and disadvantages balance each other



Definition of wash (Entry 3 of 4)

1 : involving essentially simultaneous purchase and sale of the same security spurious market activity resulting from wash trading
2 : washable wash fabric

Definition of Wash (Entry 4 of 4)

Synonyms for wash

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of wash in a Sentence

Verb We have to wash the dishes. Did you wash your hands? The flooding washed sand and silt all over the area. The pollution washes into rivers from nearby factories. Water washed over the deck of the ship. Waves washed up onto the beach. Noun My jeans are in the wash. We could hear the wash of the waves against the rocks. The wash from speedboats is dangerous for swimmers. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But every attempt to wash them is met with refusal. Longreads, 20 Apr. 2022 He was given a bucket and cloth to wash himself at the sink, as there are no showers. Britt Clennett, ABC News, 13 Apr. 2022 When bathroom piping was replaced, multiple residents were left without toilets and working showers, forced to wash themselves in sinks and use a communal bathroom downstairs or temporary toilets in their living rooms. Katie Herchenroeder, The New Republic, 5 Apr. 2022 Having largely grown up in the United States with a financial privilege that Sunja and his family have afforded him but did not have themselves, Solomon often tries to wash himself of his identity to advance his career. NBC News, 26 Mar. 2022 Guests can get their grub on at six food trucks — Angelenos WFP, Bacon Nation, Go Go Truck, Heritage LA, Maneating Plant, and Valley Boy Taqueria — and wash it down with drinks from three bars. Sara Butler, San Diego Union-Tribune, 25 Mar. 2022 Take all the herb bunches and wash them, then dry them well. Leyla Shokoohe, The Enquirer, 21 Mar. 2022 Just be sure to throw it in with your delicates and wash it on cold. Alex Warner, PEOPLE.com, 10 Mar. 2022 The recipes include dishes ranging from breakfast to dessert, including Sweet Potato Sausage Frittata, Deviled Eggs with Avocado Oil and Sage, Bacon and Beet Hash, Egg Yolk Ravioli and Angel Food Cake — plus a Lime Bourbon Sour to wash them down. Mark Kennedy, sun-sentinel.com, 17 Feb. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun This cleanser is primarily a skin-brightening face wash that also serves to gently purify and exfoliate the skin by removing dirt, oil, and pollution. The Salt Lake Tribune, 13 May 2022 Items needed include toilet paper, facial tissue, paper towels, bath soap or body wash, toothpaste, shampoo, hand lotion, dish soap, laundry soap, fabric softener and other cleaning products for North County community members in need. Linda Mcintosh, San Diego Union-Tribune, 13 May 2022 Once the hat has soaked, drain the dirty wash water and rinse the hat well with clean water. Jolie Kerr, Better Homes & Gardens, 13 May 2022 Commonly used as a means of cleansing, a body wash can do serious wonders for issues like eczema and dryness. Sophie Wirt, Allure, 13 May 2022 The khaki wash gives you more flexibility in styling than a normal indigo jacket would. Thomas Hindle, The Hollywood Reporter, 12 May 2022 The Build Back Better bill, for example, included a provision that would subject crypto to the wash-sale rule. Jeanne Sahadi, CNN, 11 May 2022 Blueland is changing the bodycare game with its refillable wash that eliminates the need for single-use plastics. Eva Thomas, PEOPLE.com, 10 May 2022 The easiest way to remove these is to scrub the wall with hot soapy water (try liquid dish soap) and a sponge or wash cloth. Country Living Staff, Country Living, 6 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective To get the best of the tress saviors, four testers (whose hair varied in thickness, length, and shade) rubbed a bit of coconut oil into their roots to mimic a few days post-wash. Janine Henni, PEOPLE.com, 15 Apr. 2022 In this episode of Wash Day Diaries, Entrepreneur and dancer Tavia Bailey shares her step-by-step approach to product build-up and moisturized post-wash braids. Ashley Abramson, Allure, 11 Aug. 2021 That wash-rinse-repeat cycle has played out repeatedly over the last century, three times in the last 14 years alone. New York Times, 11 Mar. 2021 Tybee Tea CocktailMakes about 1 gallon 1 large bunch fresh mint 1 cup sugar 2 quarts James T's Secret Iced Tea (recipe follows) 2 quarts lemonade Bourbon Lemon slices for serving Wash mint. Ann Maloney, NOLA.com, 28 June 2017 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'wash.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of wash


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


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1848, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for wash


Middle English, from Old English wascan; akin to Old High German waskan to wash and perhaps to Old English wæter water

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

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Last Updated

16 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Wash.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wash. Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for wash


\ ˈwȯsh How to pronounce wash (audio) , ˈwäsh \
washed; washing

Kids Definition of wash

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : to cleanse with water and usually a cleaning agent (as soap) Wash your hands and face.
2 : to wet completely with liquid The flowers were washed with raindrops.
3 : to flow along or overflow against Waves wash up on the shore.
4 : to remove or carry away by the action of water Wash the mud off the car. She was washed overboard.
5 : to stand being cleansed without injury Linen washes well.



Kids Definition of wash (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : articles (as clothes, sheets, and towels) in the laundry
2 : an act or instance of cleansing or of being cleansed We gave the car a good wash.
3 : the flow, sound, or action of water
4 : a backward flow of water (as made by the motion of a boat)
5 : material carried or set down by water



Kids Definition of Wash.



transitive verb
\ ˈwȯsh How to pronounce wash (audio) , ˈwäsh How to pronounce wash (audio) \

Medical Definition of wash

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to cleanse by or as if by the action of liquid (as water)
2 : to flush or moisten (a bodily part or injury) with a liquid wash the wound with saline solution
3 : to pass through a liquid to carry off impurities or soluble components

intransitive verb

1 : to wash oneself or a part of one's body
2 : to clean something by rubbing or dipping in water



Medical Definition of wash (Entry 2 of 2)

: a liquid medicinal preparation used especially for cleansing or antisepsis — see eyewash, mouthwash

More from Merriam-Webster on wash

Nglish: Translation of wash for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wash for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about wash


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