wash

verb
\ ˈwȯsh How to pronounce wash (audio) , ˈwäsh, chiefly Midland also ˈwȯrsh How to pronounce wash (audio) or ˈwärsh How to pronounce wash (audio) \
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

wash

noun

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

wash

adjective

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)

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for wash

Synonyms: Verb

bathe, lap, lave, lip, splash

Synonyms: Noun

bog, fen, marsh, marshland, mire, moor, morass, muskeg, slough (also slew), swamp, swampland, wetland

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

In her Stories, Kylie shared that her walls are not covered in fingerprints from baby Stormi or an accidental spill that wouldn’t wash off. Kara Nesvig, Teen Vogue, "Kylie Jenner Explains the Eye-Catching Décor on Her Walls," 17 Mar. 2019 That includes fallout from the migrant crisis that washed... Noemie Bisserbe, WSJ, "France’s Macron Urges ‘European Renaissance’ to Counter Nationalism," 5 Mar. 2019 Authorities warned, too, of risks of mudslides and environmental disasters from floodwaters washing over industrial waste sites and hog farms. Barnini Chakraborty, Fox News, "Florence weakens to tropical depression, but flooding threat remains severe," 16 Sep. 2018 Other basic hygiene practices like washing your hands and covering sneezes with a tissue or elbow will also help limit the spread of the virus, but vaccination is the strongest and most effective form of protection. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "The Measles Signs in Kids Every Parent Needs to Know About," 3 Apr. 2019 Hand sanitizer: Van water is precious, so don’t waste it by washing your hands all the time. Megan Barber, Curbed, "The ultimate van life shopping guide," 14 Nov. 2018 Parents can protect their kids from serious illnesses like AFM by washing their hands, making sure vaccines are up to date, and using insect repellent to prevent mosquito bites. Julia Belluz, Vox, "The outbreak of acute flaccid myelitis, the polio-like illness affecting kids: what we know," 30 Oct. 2018 As for precautions, the CDC recommends washing hands before eating food, after using the restroom and following cleaning up after a pet or petting animals, among other suggestions. Madeline Farber, Fox News, "Puppies linked to 'multidrug-resistant' infection, CDC says," 27 Sep. 2018 Think about washing your hands with antibacterial soap. Timothy Morton, The Atlantic, "The Hurricane in My Backyard," 8 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Chopra's long raven mane was curled into Veronica Lake waves, her luminous complexion was swirled with rosy blush, and a wash of raspberry highlighted her mouth. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "Priyanka Chopra Makes Her Cannes Debut With a Modern Twist on Old Hollywood Beauty," 16 May 2019 Clothing now only lasts for a few washes before coming apart at the seams. Alden Wicker, Vox, "The spare button represents all the ways we fail to be good consumers," 14 Dec. 2018 Brush the buns with egg wash and bake for 10 minutes. Vogue, "Swedish Chef Sofia Wood Shares Two Recipes for Semlor Pastries—Plus Schnayderman’s Shirts Offers a Calorie-Free Option," 4 Mar. 2019 Instead of daily washes, aim for two to three days a week. Leah Melby Clinton, Marie Claire, "Color Your Hair? Four Things You Should Never Do in the Shower," 16 Nov. 2018 Buy Now: $199 for 2, sephora.com Buy Now: $99 for Mini, sephora.com A Glossier bestseller (and Traveler favorite), this ultra creamy, pH-balanced face wash gets every bit of grime off after a day on the road. Mara Balagtas, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Travel-Size Beauty Products to Pack in Your Carry-On," 10 July 2018 The House instead offered to allocate an additional $27 million to cover the salaries, making the issue a financial wash, at least for the coming year. Adam Vaccaro, BostonGlobe.com, "In reversal, MBTA and Charlie Baker seek change in budget rules," 19 May 2018 Media: Texan Live The two students set a goal of collecting 300 items including body wash, face soap, mouth rinse, q-tips, shampoo, conditioner, toothbrushes, candy and snacks. Karen Zurawski, Houston Chronicle, "Cinco Ranch students serve community, learn leadership skills," 12 May 2018 For the premiere of her latest film, Teen Spirit, the 20-year-old channeled her inner Barbie—a transformation made complete by a dab of glittery L'Oréal lip gloss and a wash of icy rose-hued shadow. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "Elle Fanning Proves Playful Hair Accessories Are Here to Stay," 3 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

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, "Beach cocktail: Tybee Tea Cocktail recipe," 28 June 2017

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.

See More

First Known Use of wash

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

History and Etymology for wash

Verb

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about wash

Dictionary Entries near wash

Wasco

wase

Wash

wash

Washa

washable

wash-and-wear

Statistics for wash

Last Updated

18 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for wash

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for wash

wash

noun

Financial Definition of wash

What It Is

A wash occurs when two actions cancel each other out (such as a gain and an equal loss), effectively creating a break-even situation.

How It Works

Let's assume XYZ Company sells $1,000 worth of products. If these products cost XYZ Company $1,000 to manufacture, the transaction is considered a wash. Likewise, if an investor makes a $1,000 profit on an investment but loses $1,000 on another investment during the same time, the result is considered a wash.

Why It Matters

Obviously, profit motivates most companies to minimize wash transactions. However, wash transactions may have tax benefits, most of which are illegal. Investors should be aware of specific tax rules and prohibitions regarding wash transactions (see Wash Sale).

Source: Investing Answers

wash

verb

English Language Learners Definition of wash

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to clean (something) with water and usually soap
: to carry (something) by the movement of water
: to be carried by the movement of water

wash

noun

English Language Learners Definition of wash (Entry 2 of 2)

: an act of cleaning something by using water and soap : an act of washing something
: a group of clothes, towels, sheets, etc., that are being washed or that are going to be washed
: the movement of water especially : the waves made in the water after a moving boat passes by

wash

verb
\ 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.

wash

noun

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

Wash.

abbreviation

Kids Definition of Wash.

Washington

Keep scrolling for more

\ 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

wash

noun

Medical Definition of wash (Entry 2 of 2)

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on wash

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with wash

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for wash

Spanish Central: Translation of wash

Nglish: Translation of wash for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wash for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about wash

Comments on wash

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to make a payment or contribution

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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