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 move brought back shades of Vlade Divac's thirsty pursuit of washout center Georgios Papagiannis three years ago. Ben Golliver, courant.com, "2019 NBA draft: Winners (Pelicans, Hawks) and losers (trade rules, Warriors)," 21 June 2019 Canadian officials prepared for the possibility of flooding, washouts and storm surges, and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said the military was mobilizing to assist Nova Scotia. Ben Finley, Anchorage Daily News, "Stranded North Carolinians take stock of Dorian’s damage as storm bands reach Nova Scotia," 7 Sep. 2019 After a Monday washout, State Fair attendance hit a record Tuesday — the third of the 2019 Great Minnesota Get-Together. Pioneer Press, Twin Cities, "Minnesota State Fair attendance breaks another record on Tuesday," 28 Aug. 2019 Vernon County raod crews have also cleared rocks from roads and also responded to washouts, according to Larson. Joe Taschler, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Flooding reported in southwest Wisconsin after storms drop nearly 6 inches of rain on region," 19 July 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Play that twelfth round of beer pong, then wash out a cup and use it for your iced coffee the next morning. Scottie Andrew, CNN, "Red Solo cup, who? This reusable cup will make you feel better about your debauchery," 29 Aug. 2019 Insecure yet unmistakably arrogant, superficial yet deeply wounded, his characters are rude in personal color and somewhat washed out in soul. Los Angeles Times, "Review: Idina Menzel lights up the sexy-neurotic comedy ‘Skintight’ at the Geffen Playhouse," 13 Sep. 2019 Onn’s 8-inch, 1200 x 800 LCD display looks slightly better than Amazon’s smaller 1024 x 600 LCD display, though both look washed out in terms of color accuracy. Cameron Faulkner, The Verge, "A $50 tablet can handle the basics, but not much more," 2 July 2019 In all fairness, Scissons didn’t wash out due to lack of talent. Ryan Ford, Detroit Free Press, "Six-cess for the Wings in draft? History shows pick can go either way," 18 June 2018 Not only should the chemistry of the two isotopes be the same, the slight difference in atomic mass largely washes out in the watery environment of the body. Jennifer Ouellette, Quanta Magazine, "A New Spin on the Quantum Brain," 2 Nov. 2016 The clothes included washed out, tie dyed dresses, cargo pants, bodysuits, and sweatsuits with scribbles of daisies. Sara Radin, Teen Vogue, "Collina Strada's NYFW 2019 Runway Show Was All About Saving The Earth," 9 Sep. 2019 Unfortunately the moon will be nearly full then and all that lunar light will visually wash out all but the brightest meteors. Mike Lynch, Twin Cities, "Sky Watch: There are many delights to be found in August’s evening skies," 4 Aug. 2019 All of it is geared to play on the strengths of tribes’ cultures to help retain students who might otherwise wash out. oregonlive.com, "Where are the Native American doctors? Oregon med school tries to solve crisis," 27 July 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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Statistics for washout

Last Updated

26 Sep 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 topic to which one constantly reverts

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