wash

1 of 4

verb

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

transitive verb

1
a
: 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
3
a
: 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
6
a
: 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
7
a
: 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 bankersVincent 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
4
a
: 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 westwardGreen Peyton
5
: to serve as a cleansing agent
this soap washes thoroughly
6
a
: 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

2 of 4

noun

1
a
: 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

2
a
: 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
4
a
: worthless especially liquid waste : refuse
b
: an insipid beverage
c
: vapid writing or speech
5
a
: 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
8
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

wash

3 of 4

adjective

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

Wash

4 of 4

abbreviation

Phrases
wash one's hands of
: to disclaim interest in, responsibility for, or further connection with

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
Finally, testers washed and dried the underwear according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Nikita Charuza, Peoplemag, 20 Feb. 2024 Having been washed in that sound and that joy and that time period. Marcus J. Moore, New York Times, 20 Feb. 2024 Each washable rug was washed in the machine according to manufacturer’s instructions, then dried in a dryer or on a Z-rack. Alida Nugent, Better Homes & Gardens, 20 Feb. 2024 Simply washing the windows and opening or changing the curtains to bring in more natural light can help, too. Amanda Long, Washington Post, 17 Feb. 2024 Her colored jeans were washed and hand-dyed in muted pink and pigeon gray, and fabric remnants were used for the plaid insets in the skirts. Laird Borrelli-Persson, Vogue, 16 Feb. 2024 Fierce Whiskers Bourbon washed with corn chips Combine two cups Fierce Whiskers Bourbon with 400gs corn chips and let sit for 24 hours, then strain. Claudia Alarcón, Forbes, 15 Feb. 2024 Go at the start of autumn for trees washed in gold and red hues, and find a quiet spot to pop the question. Laura Hampson, Condé Nast Traveler, 14 Feb. 2024 Employees couldn’t wash or dry their hands at the cookline handwash sink, what with no soap, paper towels or blower. David J. Neal, Miami Herald, 9 Feb. 2024
Noun
However, my family likes to use this wash exclusively externally for cleaning up blood and other fluids. Chaunie Brusie, Rn, Parents, 21 Feb. 2024 With her growing stable of national sponsors, the financial aspects of her stay-or-go decision probably are a wash. Christine Brennan, USA TODAY, 20 Feb. 2024 Washable rugs were put through one wash cycle according to manufacturer instructions. Alida Nugent, Better Homes & Gardens, 20 Feb. 2024 Do not wait until Cybertruck is due for a complete wash. Carlton Reid, WIRED, 16 Feb. 2024 Some brands may suggest using mild soap and a delicate wash cycle. Theresa Holland, Travel + Leisure, 16 Feb. 2024 No paper towels were available at the hand wash sink and restroom, during the inspection. Jacqueline Pinedo, Sacramento Bee, 9 Feb. 2024 The wash can be rinsed out easily even when dealing with squirmy dogs. Madison Yauger, Peoplemag, 9 Feb. 2024 An egg wash turns the pastry a lovely golden brown. Jorie Nicole McDonald, Southern Living, 11 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'wash.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

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

First Known Use

Verb

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

Noun

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

Adjective

1848, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near wash

Cite this Entry

“Wash.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wash. Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

wash

1 of 3 verb
1
: to clean with water and usually a cleaning substance (as soap or detergent)
wash clothes
wash your hands
2
a
: to wet thoroughly with liquid
b
: to pass water over or through especially so as to carry off material from the surface or interior
3
: to flow along or splash or overflow against
waves wash the shore
4
: to pour or flow in a stream or current
the river washes against its banks
5
: to move or carry by the action of water
several trees were washed away by the flood
6
: to cover or smear lightly with a liquid (as whitewash or varnish)
7
: to run water over in order to separate out valuable matter
wash sand for gold
8
: to hold up under washing
this dress washes well
9
: to stand a test for truthfulness
that story won't wash
10
: to be worn away by washing
the heavy rain caused the bridge to wash out

wash

2 of 3 noun
1
: the act or process or an instance of washing
2
: articles to be or being washed
3
a
: a piece of ground washed by the sea or river
b
Western : the dry bed of a stream
4
: worthless especially liquid waste : refuse
5
a
: a thin coat of paint (as watercolor)
b
: a liquid used for coating a surface (as a wall) or for washing
6
: material carried along or deposited by running water
7
a
b
: a disturbance in the air produced by the passage of a wing or propeller

wash

3 of 3 adjective
: washable
wash fabric

Medical Definition

wash

1 of 2 transitive verb
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

wash

2 of 2 noun
: a liquid medicinal preparation used especially for cleansing or antisepsis see eyewash, mouthwash

More from Merriam-Webster on wash

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