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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Synonyms & Antonyms for washout

Synonyms: Noun

bomb, bummer, bust, catastrophe, clinker, clunker, debacle (also débâcle), disaster, dud, failure, fiasco, fizzle, flop, frost, lemon, loser, miss, turkey

Synonyms: Verb

blanch, bleach, blench, decolorize, dull, fade, pale, whiten

Antonyms: Noun

blockbuster, hit, smash, success, winner

Antonyms: Verb

darken, deepen, embrown

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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 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 What if Daniel Murphy's knee never gets right and his season is a washout. Thomas Boswell, chicagotribune.com, "In Kelvin Herrera, Nationals may have added the final piece of a true postseason bullpen," 19 June 2018 Moisture in the atmosphere means there will likely be more rain around South Florida this weekend than last weekend, but no washouts are expected. Doug Phillips, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Rain likely this weekend in South Florida," 8 June 2018 The reason the washout rate in a lot of these programs (is) high is because the standards are high. Sig Christenson, San Antonio Express-News, "AF recruiting squadron to seek — and keep — toughest airmen," 30 June 2018 More than 60 road washouts and sinkholes were reported by Monday morning, according to WLUC-TV. Kaitlyn Schallhorn, Fox News, "Michigan floods wash away roads, create dozens of sinkholes as residents remain stranded," 19 June 2018 The heavy rain has caused mudslides, washouts and flooding on interstates, highways and local roads across western North Carolina, NCDOT officials said in a tweet. Mark Price, charlotteobserver, "A dark road, a rush of mud and suddenly 2 NC men found their truck shoved into river," 30 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Nora shouted over her shoulder that there was $140 cash in the house and that Estefany needed to remind Alex to wash out his knee. Eli Saslow, Anchorage Daily News, "Raids are separating families in the heartland," 1 July 2018 There was that assumption that a whole bunch of people were gonna be washed out, but there was also the assumption that black students were stupid. Lolade Fadulu, The Atlantic, "The Wisdom of Going Back to School in Retirement," 22 June 2018 Northern Michigan saw devastating floods over the weekend that washed out roads and left behind dozens of sinkholes. Kaitlyn Schallhorn, Fox News, "Michigan floods wash away roads, create dozens of sinkholes as residents remain stranded," 19 June 2018 Flood warnings remained in effect Monday in parts of West Virginia, Maryland and Virginia, after drenching storms rolled over the region this weekend, washing out roads and causing other damage. Kris Maher, WSJ, "Flood Warnings in Effect in Parts of West Virginia, Maryland and Virginia," 4 June 2018 Flooding in rural Virginia that’s left at least three people missing has also damaged an unknown number of homes, washed out some roads and bridges and prompted at least one school system to close. Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, "At least 2 dead, 3 missing in flooding from Alberto's last gasp," 31 May 2018 In turn, the business owner — whose merchandise, store fixtures, computers and business records were washed out of the store by raging floodwaters and never recovered — shared her firsthand experience with staging a comeback. Janene Holzberg, baltimoresun.com, "Ellicott City business advises international team how to rebound from natural disaster," 13 Apr. 2018 The colors are washed out and the lines blur, as though the diaper’s been left behind in a puddle. Jen Gann, The Cut, "Chrissy Teigen Doesn’t Feel Like an Expert Mom," 4 Apr. 2018 Heavy rains put a damper on the Houston area’s Fourth of July celebrations as early downpours washed out roadways. Jacob Beltran, San Antonio Express-News, "July Fourth storm sweeps through San Antonio, swamps Houston," 4 July 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

15 Aug 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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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).


the setting in which something occurs

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