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, shipwreck, turkey

Synonyms: Verb

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

On the flip side, that means that a washout of outdoor activities is quite unlikely as well. David Streit, Washington Post, "D.C.-area forecast: Hotter and more humid today, then warm and dry through end of week," 10 July 2018 There was another washout at Dover Creek, and the road is closed. Detroit Free Press, "What we know now about flooding in Upper Peninsula," 19 June 2018 But that hasn’t stopped anyone from pronouncing a Democratic washout in California. David Weigel, Washington Post, "Slow waves, high turnout and no lockouts: Four lessons from this week’s primaries," 7 June 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

From model Imaan Hammam to R&B musician Kelela, Darrel's lens cast a spotlight on the women in fashion who have notoriously been white-washed out of street style sections and treated as undesirable style subjects. Darrel Hunter, Teen Vogue, "Street Style Diversity at PFW," 30 Sep. 2018 Weekend storms also brought extreme flooding to northeastern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin, washing out roads there, too, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Kaitlyn Schallhorn, Fox News, "Michigan floods wash away roads, create dozens of sinkholes as residents remain stranded," 19 June 2018 Smoke and ash from forest fires rise no more than a few thousand feet into the air and are quickly washed out of the atmosphere by precipitation. Tom Skilling, chicagotribune.com, "Ask Tom: Do forest fires lead to cold weather elsewhere?," 18 Apr. 2018 Mesa washed out of that conversation quickly, Ynoa got hurt, and a combination of uneven performances and the team's free-agent activity means the other three appear ticketed for the Opening Day bullpen. Jon Meoli, baltimoresun.com, "Five things we learned during spring training about the Orioles," 26 Mar. 2018 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

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

10 Oct 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).


by force of circumstances

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