\ ˈdrān How to pronounce drain (audio) \
drained; draining; drains

Definition of drain

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to draw off (liquid) gradually or completely drained all the water out of the pool
b : to cause the gradual disappearance of drain the region's wealth
c : to exhaust (see exhaust entry 1 sense 1b) physically or emotionally feeling drained at the end of a long workday
2a : to make gradually dry drain a swamp
b : to carry away the surface water of the river that drains the valley
c : to deplete or empty by or as if by drawing off by degrees or in increments drained the country of its resources
d : to empty by drinking the contents of drain a mug of beer
3 sports : drop sense 7c, sink drain the putt drained two free throws
4 obsolete : filter

intransitive verb

1 : to become emptied or freed of liquid by its flowing or dropping waiting for the tub to drain
2 : to discharge surface or surplus water drains into the Gulf of Mexico
3a : to flow off gradually
b : to disappear gradually : dwindle his nervousness drained away, as it always did— H. A. Sinclair



Definition of drain (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a means (such as a pipe) by which usually liquid matter is drained
2 : something that causes depletion : burden a drain on the city's resources
3a : the act of draining
b : a gradual outflow or withdrawal : depletion a net drain from the East of five million souls— G. W. Pierson
4 electronics : an electrode in a field-effect transistor toward which charge carriers move — compare gate, source
down the drain
: to a state of being wasted or irretrievably lost All their hard work went down the drain.

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Other Words from drain


drainer noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for drain

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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Choose the Right Synonym for drain


deplete, drain, exhaust, impoverish, bankrupt mean to deprive of something essential to existence or potency. deplete implies a reduction in number or quantity so as to endanger the ability to function. depleting our natural resources drain implies a gradual withdrawal and ultimate deprivation of what is necessary to an existence. personal tragedy had drained him of all spirit exhaust stresses a complete emptying. her lecture exhausted the subject impoverish suggests a deprivation of something essential to richness or productiveness. impoverished soil bankrupt suggests impoverishment to the point of imminent collapse. war had bankrupted the nation of resources

Examples of drain in a Sentence

Verb Drain the canned tomatoes before adding them to the pot. The swamp has been drained. I was waiting for the bathtub to drain. The river drains into a lake. Years of civil war have drained the country's resources. The city's emergency fund has been drained. I feel totally drained of energy this evening. Noun The drain in the bathtub is blocked.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Rinse eggplant under cold running water, drain well, place on dry baking sheet and pat dry with paper towels. Curtis Stone, Good Housekeeping, 8 Oct. 2021 First, be sure to use potting soil in your containers, which is designed to drain well, and make sure the soil includes lots of organic matter, such as compost, Wilhelmi said. Jeanette Marantos, Los Angeles Times, 29 May 2021 When the pasta and carrots are cooked, pour on top of the beans in the colander, then drain well. Star Tribune, 1 Apr. 2021 After about ten minutes, drain the water and fill the drum with rinse water. Kelly Allen, House Beautiful, 22 July 2020 Put beans in a colander set over a bowl and drain well. The New York Times News Service Syndicate, The Denver Post, 16 July 2020 All plants need soil conditions that encourage roots to develop and moisture to drain well; otherwise the roots can drown and die. Betty Cahill, The Know, 7 Apr. 2020 Spending excessive time in remedial classes that carry no college credit but drain financial aid is another. NBC News, 10 Oct. 2021 Barry and the fire department have been using small pumps to try to drain the water. BostonGlobe.com, 6 Oct. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun After 18 months of working from home, employees are in the driver’s seat, assessing what matters most in their careers, forging their professional paths and forcing companies to cobble together new retention strategies to mitigate top talent drain. Bryan Robinson, Forbes, 8 Oct. 2021 And though a homeowners policy doesn’t cover flood damage, policyholders can buy coverage for types of potential water damage — such as water entering the house from drain or sewer failures — as an add-on to their main policy. Joanne Cleaver, chicagotribune.com, 8 Oct. 2021 Caroline does not regret fighting to get her son vaccinated, despite the emotional and financial drain. BostonGlobe.com, 7 Oct. 2021 Caroline does not regret fighting to get her son vaccinated, despite the emotional and financial drain. Washington Post, 7 Oct. 2021 Winter utility bills are about another huge drain on household finances as inflation creeps into just about every consumer product on the market. Allison Morrow, CNN, 3 Oct. 2021 Glendale and Peoria Fire technical rescue personnel lowered a ladder into the drain and helped the man climb out. Peter Aitken, Fox News, 1 Oct. 2021 The cost and emotional drain of repeated and often lengthy stays can be staggering, said Jeff Fehlis, executive vice president of the American Cancer Society, which operates 31 Hope Lodges throughout the U.S. and in Puerto Rico. Cheryl Hall, Dallas News, 30 Sep. 2021 Phone getting extremely hot, plus 1% battery drain per minute caused by Spotify app use only. Chris Smith, BGR, 27 Sep. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'drain.' 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 drain


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 4


1552, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for drain

Verb and Noun

Middle English draynen, from Old English drēahnian — more at dry

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Time Traveler for drain

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near drain




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Statistics for drain

Last Updated

26 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Drain.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/drain. Accessed 27 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for drain



English Language Learners Definition of drain

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to remove (liquid) from something by letting it flow away or out
: to become empty of a liquid
: to flow into, away from, or out of something



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

: something (such as a pipe) that is used for removing a liquid from a place or container
: something that uses a lot of time, money, etc.


\ ˈdrān How to pronounce drain (audio) \
drained; draining

Kids Definition of drain

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to remove (liquid) from something by letting it flow away or out We need to drain water from the pool.
2 : to slowly make or become dry or empty drain a swamp
3 : to flow into, away from, or out of something The water slowly drained.
4 : to slowly disappear All the joy of the music drained out of him.— Mary Pope Osborne, Christmas in Camelot
5 : to tire out She was drained by the busy weekend.



Kids Definition of drain (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : something used to remove a liquid the tub's drain
2 : something that slowly empties of or uses up The long trip was a drain on Grandma's strength.


transitive verb
\ ˈdrān How to pronounce drain (audio) \

Medical Definition of drain

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : to draw off (liquid) gradually or completely drain pus from an abscess
b : to exhaust physically or emotionally
2 : to carry away or give passage to a bodily fluid or a discharge from drain an abscess the eustachian tube drains the middle ear— H. G. Armstrong

intransitive verb

: to flow off gradually blood draining from a wound



Medical Definition of drain (Entry 2 of 2)

: a tube or cylinder usually of absorbent material for drainage of a wound — see cigarette drain

More from Merriam-Webster on drain

Nglish: Translation of drain for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of drain for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about drain


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