see also: WASH, Wash
  • (RP) IPA: /wɒʃ/
  • (GA) IPA: /wɔʃ/
  • (Canada, NYC, cot-caught) IPA: /wɑʃ/
  • (America, intrusive r) IPA: /wɔɹʃ/

wash (washes, present participle washing; past washed, past participle washed)

  1. To clean with water.
    The car is so dirty, we need to wash it.
    Dishwashers wash dishes much more efficiently than most humans.
    • 1917, Lester Angell Round, Harold Locke Lang, Preservation of vegetables by fermentation and salting, page 9
      Wash the vegetables, drain off the surplus water, and pack them in a keg, crock, or other utensil until it is nearly full
    • 1971, Homemaking Handbook: For Village Workers in Many Countries, page 101
      If using celery or okra, wash the vegetables in safe water.
    • 2010, Catherine Abbott, The Everything Grow Your Own Vegetables Book: Your Complete Guide to planting, tending, and harvesting vegetables, Everything Books ISBN 9781440500145, page 215
      Wash the vegetables thoroughly; even a little dirt can contain bacteria. Wash vegetables individually under running water.
  2. (transitive) To move or erode by the force of water in motion.
    Heavy rains wash a road or an embankment.
    The flood washed away houses.
  3. (mining) To separate valuable material (such as gold) from worthless material by the action of flowing water.
  4. (intransitive) To clean oneself with water.
    I wash every morning after getting up.
  5. (transitive) To cover with water or any liquid; to wet; to fall on and moisten.
    Waves wash the shore.
    • a. 1645, John Milton, “L'Allegro”, in Poems of Mr. John Milton, […] , London: Printed by Ruth Raworth for Humphrey Moſely,  […], published 1645, OCLC 606951673 ↗:
      fresh-blown roses washed with dew
    • [the landscape] washed with a cold, grey mist
  6. (intransitive) To move with a lapping or swashing sound; to lap or splash.
    to hear the water washing
  7. (intransitive) To be eroded or carried away by the action of water.
  8. (intransitive, figuratively) To be cogent, convincing; to withstand critique.
  9. (intransitive) To bear without injury the operation of being washed.
    Some calicoes do not wash.
  10. (intransitive) To be wasted or worn away by the action of water, as by a running or overflowing stream, or by the dashing of the sea; said of road, a beach, etc.
  11. To cover with a thin or watery coat of colour; to tint lightly and thinly.
  12. To overlay with a thin coat of metal.
    steel washed with silver
  13. (transitive) To cause dephosphorization of (molten pig iron) by adding substances containing iron oxide, and sometimes manganese oxide.
  14. (transitive) To pass (a gas or gaseous mixture) through or over a liquid for the purpose of purifying it, especially by removing soluble constituents.
Translations Translations Translations
  • Russian: промыва́ть
  • Spanish: lavar
  • French: se laver, faire sa toilette
  • German: sich waschen
  • Italian: lavarsi
  • Portuguese: lavar-se
  • Russian: мы́ться
  • Spanish: lavarse
  • Russian: размыва́ться

wash (plural washes)

  1. The process or an instance of washing or being washed by water or other liquid.
    I'm going to have a quick wash before coming to bed.
    My jacket needs a wash.
  2. A liquid used for washing.
  3. A lotion or other liquid with medicinal or hygienic properties.
    mouth wash
    hand wash
  4. The quantity of clothes washed at a time.
    There's a lot in that wash: maybe you should split it into two piles.
  5. (arts) A smooth and translucent painting#Noun|painting created using a paintbrush holding a large amount of solvent#Noun|solvent and a small amount of paint#Noun|paint.
  6. The sound of breaking of the seas, e.g., on the shore.
    I could hear the wash of the wave.
    • 1924, Herman Melville, Billy Budd, London: Constable & Co., Chapter 16,
      […] the wind in the cordage and the wash of the sea helped the more to put them beyond earshot […]
  7. The wake of a moving ship.
    The ship left a big wash
    Sail away from the wash to avoid rocking the boat.
    • 2003, Guidelines for Managing Wake Wash from High-speed Vessels: Report of Working Group 41 of the Maritime Navigation Commission, PIANC ISBN 9782872231423, page 5
      To date, much of the research undertaken on high-speed vessel wake wash has appeared only as unpublished reports for various authorities and management agencies.
  8. The turbulence left in the air by a moving airplane.
  9. Ground washed away to the sea or a river.
    • The wash of pastures, fields, commons, and roads, where rain water hath a long time settled.
  10. A piece of ground washed by the action of water, or sometimes covered and sometimes left dry; the shallowest part of a river, or arm of the sea; also, a bog; a marsh.
    • c. 1596, William Shakespeare, “The Life and Death of King Iohn”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act V, scene vi]:
      These Lincoln washes have devoured them.
  11. A shallow body of water.
  12. In arid and semi-arid regions, the normally dry bed of an intermittent or ephemeral stream; an arroyo or wadi.
    • 1997, Stanley Desmond Smith, et al. Physiological Ecology of North American Desert Plants, Nature
      In some desert-wash systems (which have been termed “xero-riparian”)
    • 1999, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, A Natural History of the Sonoran Desert
      ...though the wash may carry surface water for only a few hours a year.
  13. A situation in which losses and gains or advantages and disadvantages are equivalent; a situation in which there is no net change.
  14. (finance, slang) A fictitious kind of sale of stock or other securities between parties of one interest, or by a broker who is both buyer and seller, and who minds his own interest rather than that of his clients.
  15. Waste liquid, the refuse of food, the collection from washed dishes, etc., from a kitchen, often used as food for pigs; pigwash.
  16. In distilling, the fermented wort before the spirit is extracted.
  17. A mixture of dunder, molasses, water, and scummings, used in the West Indies for distillation.
  18. A thin coat of paint or metal laid on anything for beauty or preservation.
  19. (nautical) The blade of an oar.
  20. The backward current or disturbed water caused by the action of oars, or of a steamer's screw or paddles, etc.
  21. Ten strikes, or bushels, of oysters.
  22. (architecture) The upper surface of a member or material when given a slope to shed water; hence, a structure or receptacle shaped so as to receive and carry off water.
    a carriage wash in a stable
  23. (television) A lighting effect that fills a scene with a chosen colour.
  24. (stagecraft) A lighting fixture that can cast a wide beam of light to evenly fill an area with light, as opposed to a spotlight.
Synonyms Translations Translations Translations
  • German: Lavierung
  • Russian: прибо́й
  • Russian: попу́тная струя́
  • Russian: лосьо́н
  • Spanish: enjuague
  • Russian: мелково́дье
  • French: oeud


wash (uncountable)

  1. Acronym of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

Proper noun
  1. The square-shaped bay and estuary on the northwest margin of East Anglia in England.
Proper noun
  1. A male given name.

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