From Middle English washen, waschen, weschen, from Old English wasċan, wæsċan (“to wash, cleanse, bathe, lave”), from Proto-Germanic *waskaną, *watskaną (“to wash, get wet”), from Proto-Indo-European *wed- (“wet; water”). Cognate with Saterland Frisian waaske (“to wash”), West Frisian waskje (“to wash”), 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”).
wash (third-person singular simple present washes, present participle washing, simple past and past participle washed)
- 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, page 215
- Wash the vegetables thoroughly; even a little dirt can contain bacteria. Wash vegetables individually under running water.
- (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.
- (mining) To separate valuable material (such as gold) from worthless material by the action of flowing water.
- (intransitive) To clean oneself with water.
I wash every morning after getting up.
- (transitive) To cover with water or any liquid; to wet; to fall on and moisten.
- Waves wash the shore.
- fresh-blown roses washed with dew
- [the landscape] washed with a cold, grey mist
- (intransitive) To move with a lapping or swashing sound; to lap or splash.
- to hear the water washing
- (intransitive) To be eroded or carried away by the action of water.
- (intransitive, figuratively) To be cogent, convincing; to withstand critique.
- (intransitive) To bear without injury the operation of being washed.
Some calicoes do not wash.
- (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.
- To cover with a thin or watery coat of colour; to tint lightly and thinly.
- To overlay with a thin coat of metal.
- steel washed with silver
- (transitive) To cause dephosphorization of (molten pig iron) by adding substances containing iron oxide, and sometimes manganese oxide.
- (transitive) To pass (a gas or gaseous mixture) through or over a liquid for the purpose of purifying it, especially by removing soluble constituents.
In older works and possibly still in some dialects, wesh and woosh may be found as past tense forms. Washen may be found as a past participle.
Terms derived from wash (verb)
to clean with water
- Afrikaans: was (af)
- Albanian: lan
- Arabic: غَسَلَ (ḡasala)
- Syriac: ܣܚܐ (sħā)
- Armenian: լվալ (hy) (lval), լվանալ (hy) (lvanal)
- Aromanian: spel, aspel, lau
- Assamese: ধোৱা (dhüa)
- Asturian: llavar
- Azerbaijani: yumaq (az)
- Belarusian: мыць impf (mycʹ), памыць pf (pamýcʹ); (of clothes) праць impf (pracʹ)
- Bengali: ধোয়া (dhoa), ধোওয়া (dhoa)
- Breton: gwalc'hiñ (br)
- Bulgarian: мия (bg) (míja)
- Burmese: ဆေး (my) (hce:)
- Catalan: rentar (ca), llavar (ca)
- Cantonese: 洗 (sai2)
- Mandarin: 洗 (zh) (xǐ), 洗滌 (zh), 洗涤 (zh) (xǐdí), 沖洗 (zh), 冲洗 (zh) (chōngxǐ)
- Classical Nahuatl: pāca
- Cornish: golhi
- Crimean Tatar: yuvmaq
- Czech: mýt (cs) (dishes), prát (cs) (laundry)
- Danish: vaske (da)
- Dutch: wassen (nl), spoelen (nl), afspoelen (nl)
- Esperanto: lavi
- Estonian: pesema
- Faroese: vaska
- Finnish: pestä (fi); tiskata (fi) (dishes), pyykätä (fi) (clothes)
- French: laver (fr)
- Friulian: lavâ
- Galician: lavar (gl)
- Georgian: რეცხვა (recxva), გარეცხვა (garecxva), ბანვა (banva)
- German: waschen (de), spülen (de)
- Gothic: 𐌸𐍅𐌰𐌷𐌰𐌽 (þwahan)
- Greek: πλένω (el) (pléno)
- Haitian Creole: lave
- Hawaiian: holoi
- Hebrew: רחץ (rakháts), שטף (shatáf)
- Hindi: धोना (hi) (dhonā)
- Hungarian: mos (hu), kimos (hu)
- Icelandic: þvo (is)
- Ido: lavar (io)
- Indonesian: mencuci (id)
- Irish: nigh
- Italian: lavare (it)
- Japanese: 洗う (ja) (あらう, arau)
- Kazakh: жуу (jww)
- Khmer: លាង (km) (lieng)
- Korean: 씻다 (ko) (ssitda)
- Kurmanji: şûştin (ku) (شووشتن)
- Sorani: شوشتن (şuştin)
- Kyrgyz: жууш (ky) (cuuş)
- Lao: ລ້າງ (lo) (lāng), ຊັກ (sak)
- Latin: lavō, luo
- Latvian: mazgāt (lv)
- Limburgish: wasje (li), wesje (li), speule (li), aafspeule
- Lithuanian: pláuti, mazgoti, praũsti (lt) (about face)
- Low German: waschen
- Macedonian: мие (míe)
- Malay: mencuci
- Maori: horoi
- Mongolian: угаалга (mn) (ugaalga)
- Ngazidja Comorian: uyela (one's face)
- Norman: laver
- Norwegian: tvette, vaske (no)
- Occitan: lavar (oc)
- Old English: þwēan
- Old High German: dwahan
- Old Norse: þvó, þvætta
- Ottoman Turkish: ییقامق (yıkamak)
- Persian: شستن (fa) (šostan)
- Polish: myć (pl), (of clothes) prać (pl)
- Portuguese: lavar (pt)
- Quechua: mayllay, t'aqsay (clothes)
- Rohingya: dúo
- Romani: thovel
- Romanian: spăla (ro)
- Romansch: lavar, laver
- Russian: мыть (ru) impf (mytʹ), помы́ть (ru) pf (pomýtʹ), вы́мыть (ru) pf (výmytʹ); (of clothes) стира́ть (ru) impf (stirátʹ), постира́ть (ru) pf (postirátʹ)
- Sardinian: samunài, samunàe, samunàre, sciacuai, labare
- Scottish Gaelic: nigh
- Cyrillic: мити, прати (clothes)
- Roman: miti (sh), prati (sh) (clothes)
- Sicilian: lavari (scn)
- Sinhalese: please add this translation if you can
- Slovak: myť, prať (laundry)
- Slovene: miti, prati (laundry)
- Lower Sorbian: myś impf
- Spanish: lavar (es)
- Sundanese: kumbah
- Swahili: -osha (objects), -fua (sw) (clothes), -nawa (hands or face)
- Swedish: tvätta (sv), tvaga (sv) (archaic), två (sv) (archaic)
- Sylheti: ꠗꠃꠣ (doua)
- Tamil: கழுவு (ta) (kaḻuvu)
- Telugu: కడుగు (te) (kaḍugu) hands, dishes, etc., ఉతుకు (te) (utuku) clothes
- Thai: ล้าง (th) (láang), (of clothes) ซัก (th) (sák)
- Tibetan: བཀྲུ་བ (bkru ba)
- Turkish: yıkamak (tr), yumak (tr)
- Turkmen: ýuvmak
- Tuvan: чуур (čuur)
- Ukrainian: мити (mýty), (of clothes) прати (práty)
- Urdu: دھونا (dhonā)
- Uzbek: yuvmoq (uz), yuvinmoq (uz)
- Vietnamese: rửa (vi), giặt (vi)
- Volapük: lavön (vo)
- Võro: mõskma
- Walloon: laver, rinetyî (wa), rilaver (wa)
- Welsh: golchi (cy)
- West Frisian: waskje
- Westrobothnian: bøtj, tjwöött, rääns
- Yiddish: וואַשן (vashn)
to move or erode by the force of water in motion
mining: to separate valuable material
to cover with liquid; to wet, moisten
to bear washing without injury
- Finnish: kestää pesua (generally); kestää pesun (particular instance of washing)
to be wasted or worn away
to tint lightly and thinly
wash (plural washes)
A drawing and wash by Samuel Wallis
entitled York Island
- 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.
- A liquid used for washing.
- The quantity of clothes washed at a time.
- There's a lot in that wash: maybe you should split it into two piles.
- (art) A smooth and translucent painting created using a paintbrush holding a large amount of solvent and a small amount of paint.
- 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 […]
- 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, 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.
- The turbulence left in the air by a moving airplane.
- A lotion or other liquid with medicinal or hygienic properties.
- mouth wash
- hand wash
- 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.
- 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.
- These Lincoln washes have devoured them.
- A shallow body of water.
- 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.
- 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
- A situation in which losses and gains or advantages and disadvantages are equivalent; a situation in which there is no net change.
- 2003, David Brenner, I Think There's a Terrorist in My Soup, page 100:
- I knew that for every vote I cast for, say, the Republicans, some kid at a polling place nearby was casting his votes for the Democrats, so it was probably a wash or close to it.
- 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?)
- In distilling, the fermented wort before the spirit is extracted.
- 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?)
- A thin coat of metal laid on anything for beauty or preservation.
- (nautical) The blade of an oar.
- The backward current or disturbed water caused by the action of oars, or of a steamer's screw or paddles, etc.
- Ten strikes, or bushels, of oysters.
- (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
terms derived from wash (noun)
process or an instance of washing or being washed by water
turbulence left by airplane
ground washed away to the sea or a river
piece of ground washed by the action of water
normally dry bed of an intermittent or ephemeral stream
situation in which losses and gains are equivalent
distilling: fermented wort
mixture of dunder, molasses, water, and scummings
nautical: blade of an oar
backward current caused by oars, screw etc.
architecture: structure shaped so as to receive and carry off water
- WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene)