wash·​out | \ˈwȯsh-ˌau̇t, ˈwäsh-\

Definition of washout 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : the washing out or away of something and especially of earth in a roadbed by a freshet

b : a place where earth is washed away

2 : one that fails to measure up : failure: such as

a : one who fails in a course of training or study

b : an unsuccessful enterprise or undertaking

wash out


Definition of wash out (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to wash free of an extraneous substance (such as dirt)

2a : to cause to fade by or as if by laundering

b : to deplete the strength or vitality of

c : to eliminate as useless or unsatisfactory : reject

3a : to destroy or make useless by the force or action of water the storm washed out the bridge

b : rain out the game was washed out

intransitive verb

1 : to become depleted of color or vitality : fade

2 : to fail to meet requirements or measure up to a standard

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Examples of washout in a Sentence


He was a washout as a professional golfer. The team lost so many games that the season was a total washout. Yesterday's game was a washout.


most of the participants in the tough training program washed out the bright lights of the TV studio washed out her facial features, making her look as white as a ghost
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Michigan was a particular washout for the GOP with Democrat Gretchen Whitmer winning in a rout, despite a strong economic recovery. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "A Democratic House," 7 Nov. 2018 It was actually supposed to come Sunday, but a washout and a day off delayed what is, at least symbolically, a significant moment in the 2018 Orioles season. Jon Meoli, baltimoresun.com, "With rookie catchers Sisco, Wynns, Orioles start slow move toward future in spiraling season," 6 June 2018 On the flip side, that means that a washout of outdoor activities is quite unlikely as well. David Streit, Washington Post, "D.C.-area forecast: Hotter and more humid today, then warm and dry through end of week," 10 July 2018 There was another washout at Dover Creek, and the road is closed. Detroit Free Press, "What we know now about flooding in Upper Peninsula," 19 June 2018 But that hasn’t stopped anyone from pronouncing a Democratic washout in California. David Weigel, Washington Post, "Slow waves, high turnout and no lockouts: Four lessons from this week’s primaries," 7 June 2018 The washout is a scant 25 feet from a sewer lift station. Lauren Ritchie, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Hurricane Irma lingers with expensive toll from big washout in Mount Dora," 30 Mar. 2018 The Browns washout is trying to revive his career, and rehabilitate himself, in the Canadian league. Alex Prewitt, SI.com, "Johnny Manziel’s Last Chance—as a Backup in the CFL," 16 June 2018 For the third weekend in a row, the State Highway Administration has responded to a complete washout of bridge approaches--the section where the roadway meets the bridge--across Maryland. Jess Nocera, Laurel Leader, "Heavy rains cause "complete washout" of Route 198 Bridge," 4 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The rear camera is often slow and struggles with capturing a photo’s highlights, resulting in something that’s both blown out and washed out. Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge, "Motorola and Nokia’s new phones make $350 look like $1,000," 3 Dec. 2018 State officials fear severe flooding can wash out major roads and cut Myrtle Beach off from the mainland. Fox News, "Coast Guard commandant talks Florence rescue efforts," 14 Sep. 2018 If the celebration gets washed out by rain on Saturday, it will be held Sunday. John Tuohy, Indianapolis Star, "Speed-eating on menu at Spark!Fishers holiday weekend bash," 28 June 2018 Residents of Michigan's Houghton County in the Upper Peninsula are reeling and at least one man is dead after heavy rainfall washed out roads and left devastating flooding across the region. Deasia Paige, Detroit Free Press, "What we know about flooding in Houghton, Michigan," 18 June 2018 There were from some ancillary benefits from the rain that caused the suspension of Tuesday’s game in the sixth inning and washed out the resumption of that game and the start of another on Wednesday. New York Times, "Yankees’ Visit to Washington Was Brief, but Not Without Benefits," 16 May 2018 The color stayed in my hair (which is naturally medium blonde)for about a week, while my friend's (who bleaches her hair) washed outthe next day. Kara Mcgrath, Seventeen, "The Ultimate Guide to DIY Hair Chalking!," 19 Feb. 2015 From model Imaan Hammam to R&B musician Kelela, Darrel's lens cast a spotlight on the women in fashion who have notoriously been white-washed out of street style sections and treated as undesirable style subjects. Darrel Hunter, Teen Vogue, "Street Style Diversity at PFW," 30 Sep. 2018 Weekend storms also brought extreme flooding to northeastern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin, washing out roads there, too, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Kaitlyn Schallhorn, Fox News, "Michigan floods wash away roads, create dozens of sinkholes as residents remain stranded," 19 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'washout.' 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 washout


1873, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1540, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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Statistics for washout

Last Updated

21 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for washout

The first known use of washout was in 1540

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More Definitions for washout



English Language Learners Definition of washout

: a complete failure

: an event, game, etc., that is canceled because of rain


wash·​out | \ˈwȯsh-ˌau̇t, ˈwäsh-\

Kids Definition of washout

1 : a place where earth has been washed away

2 : a complete failure


wash·​out | \ˈwȯsh-ˌau̇t, ˈwäsh- \

Medical Definition of washout 

: the action or process of progressively reducing the concentration of a substance (as a dye injected into the left ventricle of the heart)

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More from Merriam-Webster on washout

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with washout

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for washout

Spanish Central: Translation of washout

Nglish: Translation of washout for Spanish Speakers

Comments on washout

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the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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