wash·​out | \ ˈwȯsh-ˌau̇t How to pronounce washout (audio) , 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

washed out; washing out; washes 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

The weekend however, will not be a washout and not everyone will see rain. Dallas News, "NBC 5 Forecast: Hit and miss weekend storms," 2 Aug. 2019 Wednesday’s washout meant that the women’s semis had to be played today. Jon Wertheim, SI.com, "Nadal as Relentless As Ever in Dominant Roland Garros Win Over Federer," 7 June 2019 After rising nearly 100-fold during the dot-com bubble, Amazon shares came back to earth with a thud, falling almost 95% from their highs by the time the washout was over. Ben Carlson, Fortune, "How to Win Any Argument About the Stock Market," 11 Dec. 2017 In Jasper, Forest Service Road 250 is closed due to a washout. Carina Julig, The Denver Post, "Flood risks bring warnings for those living, playing near rivers in southwestern Colorado," 10 June 2019 Organizers were surely relieved the rain that caused havoc Wednesday didn't resurface early Friday, as some forecasts suggested another complete washout was a possibility. Ravi Ubha, CNN, "Nadal beats Federer to reach 12th French Open final," 7 June 2019 The question is how much a washout in some frothy asset classes would affect the real economy. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The Bond Market’s Signal," 4 Oct. 2018 The Odor Protection Test In this test, panelists do a washout period for about two weeks and are also instructed not to wash. Cassie Shortsleeve, Popular Mechanics, "How Scientists at Degree Men Test Antiperspirant," 20 Dec. 2018 The weekend shouldn’t be a washout, and Sunday looks nicer than Saturday. Jason Samenow, Washington Post, "Rain may soak Washington on Friday and then mess with another weekend," 21 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

For the first time this season, rain washed out an Alaska Baseball League game at Palmer’s Hermon Brothers Field. Anchorage Daily News, "As the Alaska Baseball League heads into its final week, rain makes a rare appearance," 24 July 2019 Lawns also may have a washed out appearance with a yellow cast, which could be a nitrogen deficiency brought on by the rain. Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp, Indianapolis Star, "The Hoosier Gardener: Weather prime for fungus problems," 28 June 2019 Rain washed out the entire schedule at the French Open on Wednesday. SFChronicle.com, "French Open rainout sinks schedule," 5 June 2019 Of course, testing this prediction wasn’t easy because stars aren’t visible during the day; they’re washed out by the sun’s light. Devin Powell, Discover Magazine, "How the 1919 Solar Eclipse Made Einstein the World's Most Famous Scientist," 24 May 2019 Five players from the 2017 haul already have washed out of the organization. Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Red Wings think pair of Swedes could be NHL draft steals," 23 June 2019 O’Rourke’s looseness left him looking washed out and meek. Gilbert Garcia, ExpressNews.com, "Castro’s discipline pays off on the big stage," 28 June 2019 Eight thousand residents were left without clean drinking water after floodwaters washed out the rural water system. USA TODAY, "Summer snow, yellow jacket super nests, laundered cat: News from around our 50 states," 26 June 2019 The waves then interfere so that wrong solutions wash out and the right one emerges. Adrian Cho, Science | AAAS, "How to evaluate computers that don’t quite exist," 26 June 2019

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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Learn More about washout

Statistics for washout

Last Updated

15 Aug 2019

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 How to pronounce washout (audio) , ˈwäsh-\

Kids Definition of washout

1 : a place where earth has been washed away
2 : a complete failure


wash·​out | \ ˈwȯsh-ˌau̇t, ˈwäsh- How to pronounce washout (audio) \

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

What made you want to look up washout? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a period when something is suspended

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