Definition of


  1. (noun, act) the work of cleansing (usually with soap and water)
  2. (noun, act) any enterprise in which losses and gains cancel out
  3. (noun, artifact) garments or white goods that can be cleaned by laundering
  4. (noun, artifact) a watercolor made by applying a series of monochrome washes one over the other
  5. (noun, artifact) a thin coat of water-base paint
  6. (noun, object) the dry bed of an intermittent stream (as at the bottom of a canyon)
  7. (noun, phenomenon) the flow of air that is driven backwards by an aircraft propeller
  8. (noun, process) the erosive process of washing away soil or gravel by water (as from a roadway)
  9. (verb, body) to cleanse (itself or another animal) by licking
  10. (verb, body) cleanse (one's body) with soap and water
  11. (verb, change) wash or flow against
  12. (verb, change) make moist
  13. (verb, change) form by erosion
  14. (verb, change) remove by the application of water or other liquid and soap or some other cleaning agent
    The nurse washed away the blood
    Can you wash away the spots on the windows?
    he managed to wash out the stains
  15. (verb, contact) apply a thin coating of paint, metal, etc., to
  16. (verb, contact) clean with some chemical process
  17. (verb, contact) cleanse with a cleaning agent, such as soap, and water
  18. (verb, contact) separate dirt or gravel from (precious minerals)
  19. (verb, motion) move by or as if by water
  20. (verb, stative) admit to testing or proof
  21. (verb, stative) be capable of being washed

via WordNet, Princeton University

Origin of the word Wash

  1. O.E. wascan, w?scan, from P.Gmc. *watskanan (cf. O.N. vaska, M.Du. wasscen, Du. wassen, Ger. waschen), from stem *wat-, the source of water. Used mainly of clothes in O.E. (the principal verb for washing the body, dishes, etc. being ?wean). Verbal phrase wash out "obliterate, cancel" is attested from 1580; he… more
  2. late O.E. w?sc "act of washing" (see wash (v.)). Meaning "clothes set aside to be washed" is attested from 1789; meaning "thin coat of paint" is recorded from 1698; sense of "land alternately covered and exposed by the sea" is recorded from c.1440. more

via Online Etymology Dictionary, ©2001 Douglas Harper

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