wash

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

From Middle English washen, waschen, weschen, from Old English wascan, wæscan (to wash, cleanse, bathe, lave), from Proto-Germanic *waskaną, *watskaną (to wash, get wet), from Proto-Indo-European *wod- (wet; water). Cognate with West Frisian waskje, Dutch wassen, wasschen (to wash), Low German waschen (to wash), German waschen (to wash), Danish vaske (to wash), Swedish vaska (to wash), Icelandic vaska (to wash).

Pronunciation[edit]

Verb[edit]

wash (third-person singular simple present washes, present participle washing, simple past washed, wesh (obsolete or dialectal), or woosh (obsolete or dialectal), past participle washed or washen (archaic, dialectal))

  1. To clean with water.
    The car is so dirty, we need to wash it.
    Dishwashers wash dishes much more efficiently than most humans.
  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.
    • Milton
      fresh-blown roses washed with dew
    • Longfellow
      [the landscape] washed with a cold, grey mist
  6. (intransitive) To be eroded or carried away by the action of water.
  7. (intransitive, figuratively) To be cogent, convincing; to withstand critique.
  8. (intransitive) To bear without injury the operation of being washed.
    Some calicoes do not wash.
  9. (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.
  10. To cover with a thin or watery coat of colour; to tint lightly and thinly.
  11. To overlay with a thin coat of metal.
    steel washed with silver

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Noun[edit]

wash (plural washes)

A drawing and wash by Samuel Wallis entitled York Island (c. 1767)
  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. The quantity of clothes washed at a time.
    There's a lot in that wash: maybe you should split it into two piles.
  4. (art) A smooth and translucent painting created using a paintbrush holding a large amount of solvent and a small amount of paint.
  5. The sound of breaking of the seas, e.g., on the shore.
    I could hear the wash of the wave.
  6. The wake of a moving ship.
    The ship left a big wash
    Sail away from the wash to avoid rocking the boat.
  7. The turbulence left in the air by a moving airplane.
  8. A lotion or other liquid with medicinal or hygienic properties.
    mouth wash
    hand wash
  9. Ground washed away to the sea or a river.
    • Mortimer
      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.
    • Shakespeare
      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; 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.
    • 2005, Le Hayes, Pilgrims in the Desert: The Early History of the East Mojave Desert
      Rock Spring Wash continues a short distance then joins Watson Wash. Water from Rock Spring comes out of the boulder strewn wash and disappears into the sand
  13. Something where no progress is made, where nothing changes; a washout.
    His first week at the new job was a wash, since he spent so much time learning the system instead of using it.
  14. Waste liquid, the refuse of food, the collection from washed dishes, etc., from a kitchen, often used as food for pigs; pigwash.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Shakespeare to this entry?)
  15. In distilling, the fermented wort before the spirit is extracted.
  16. A mixture of dunder, molasses, water, and scummings, used in the West Indies for distillation.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of B. Edwards to this entry?)
  17. A thin coat of metal laid on anything for beauty or preservation.
  18. (nautical) The blade of an oar.
  19. The backward current or disturbed water caused by the action of oars, or of a steamer's screw or paddles, etc.
  20. Ten strikes, or bushels, of oysters.

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Anagrams[edit]

See also[edit]

  • WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene)