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Synonym Chooser

How is the word drain distinct from other similar verbs?

Some common synonyms of drain are bankrupt, deplete, exhaust, and impoverish. While all these words mean "to deprive of something essential to existence or potency," drain implies a gradual withdrawal and ultimate deprivation of what is necessary to an existence.

personal tragedy had drained him of all spirit

When might bankrupt be a better fit than drain?

The synonyms bankrupt and drain are sometimes interchangeable, but bankrupt suggests impoverishment to the point of imminent collapse.

war had bankrupted the nation of resources

When can deplete be used instead of drain?

Although the words deplete and drain have much in common, deplete implies a reduction in number or quantity so as to endanger the ability to function.

depleting our natural resources

When is exhaust a more appropriate choice than drain?

In some situations, the words exhaust and drain are roughly equivalent. However, exhaust stresses a complete emptying.

her lecture exhausted the subject

When would impoverish be a good substitute for drain?

The words impoverish and drain are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, impoverish suggests a deprivation of something essential to richness or productiveness.

impoverished soil

Thesaurus Entries Near drain

Cite this Entry

“Drain.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/drain. Accessed 27 May. 2024.

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