wash·​board | \ ˈwȯsh-ˌbȯrd How to pronounce washboard (audio) , ˈwäsh-\

Definition of washboard

1 : a broad thin plank along a gunwale or on the sill of a lower deck port to keep out the sea
2 : baseboard
3a : a corrugated rectangular surface that is used for scrubbing clothes or as a percussion instrument
b : a road or pavement so worn by traffic as to be corrugated transversely
c : an abdominal area characterized by prominent and well-defined musculature usually used attributively a bodybuilder with washboard absa washboard stomach

Examples of washboard in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Yes, a handful of mowers are all-wheel drive, built for homeowners who cut across washboard surfaces, sidehill mowing, steep uphill and downhill mowing that makes good of AWD. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, "The Lawn Mower Buyer's Guide: Everything You Need to Know to Buy the Right Mower," 22 Feb. 2019 Once all the nitrogen ice was gone, this material would pile up to create the washboard terrain. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Enigmatic ridges on Pluto may be the remains of vanished nitrogen glaciers," 17 Nov. 2018 To many Arlington residents, this five-and-dime store has felt like home for 64 years, a shop filled with nostalgia in the form of licorice pipes, candy cigarettes, rubber chickens, washboards, velcro, and more. Elise Takahama, BostonGlobe.com, "Arlington’s five-and-dime shop to close after 64 years; patrons bid bittersweet goodbye," 22 June 2018 The actors double as the band, playing piano, violin, melodica, a small trap drum, cymbals, washboard, trombone and a slew of kazoos and ukuleles. Christopher Arnott, courant.com, "A Coarse, Cacophonous, Compelling 'Cabaret' In New Haven," 26 June 2018 The roads in the monument range from smooth laterite to choppy dirt washboard, and even some passages of rubble and sand. Aaron Gulley, Outside Online, "Testing the All New Trek Checkpoint," 28 Mar. 2018 Woody Mountain Road is washboard-rough but passable by sedan. Mare Czinar, azcentral, "Flagstaff hike: Rogers Trail hike is a lovely walk in the woods," 5 July 2018 Sure enough, closer to the canyon the road turned to washboard. Alli Harvey, Anchorage Daily News, "Crazy ideas seem sane when they let you sleep under the stars," 10 May 2018 The first gig had Palazzo on piano, Bougerol singing and playing washboard, and a tap dancer. Joe Klopus, kansascity, "Jazz Town: Versatile Hot Sardines pack their shows with pure joy | The Kansas City Star," 4 Mar. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of washboard

1742, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about washboard

Share washboard

Statistics for washboard

Last Updated

2 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for washboard

The first known use of washboard was in 1742

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for washboard



English Language Learners Definition of washboard

: a board with ridges on its surface that was used in the past for washing clothes by rubbing wet clothes against it
US, informal : a group of strong and well-shaped muscles that can be seen on a person's stomach

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on washboard

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with washboard

Spanish Central: Translation of washboard

Nglish: Translation of washboard for Spanish Speakers

Comments on washboard

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


the range of authority or knowledge

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt-painting-a-young-scholar-and-his-tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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