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wash +‎ board


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washboard (plural washboards)

  1. A board with a corrugated surface against which laundry may be rubbed.
  2. (music) Such a board used as a simple percussion instrument.
  3. (nautical) A board fastened along a ship's gunwale to prevent splashing; a splashboard.
  4. A stretch of ripples or bumps on a dirt or gravel road, mostly occurring at corners; which is caused by wear from traffic, erosion from wet weather, or poor grading.
  5. (dated) baseboard; skirting board

Derived terms[edit]



washboard (third-person singular simple present washboards, present participle washboarding, simple past and past participle washboarded)

  1. To produce a rippled texture on a surface.
    • 1967, James Jones, Go to the Widow-Maker, page 515:
      Doug came up with a half-guilty smile and washboarded his forehead at her.
    • 1992, Ocean Realm, page 17:
      The rip that was generated by each change of tide had scoured the bottom white and washboarded the sand where it was still layered over the hardpan coral floor.
    • 1997, David Poyer, The Passage: A Thriller, →ISBN:
      The low bass brruummmp of 20-mm slugs going out washboarded the bulkheads.
    • 2001, Phoebe:
      She drove as fast as she dared, braking for the frost heaves that washboarded the blacktop and on her dirt road, bouncing in and out of the clay ruts cut by the flow of runoff.
  2. To play a washboard.
    • 2008, The New Yorker, page 28:
      It's almost as if the urge to washboard is intrinsically human.
  3. (bees) To move up and down or back and forth across the surface of a hive, possibly to lay down a layer of propolis and wax.
    • 2015, James E. Tew, The Beekeeper's Problem Solver, →ISBN, page 73:
      Individual bees have been observed washboarding on the inside glass of an observation hive.
    • 2015, Robert Owen, The Australian Beekeeping Manual, →ISBN, page 19-51:
      This behaviour is believed to be associated with general cleaning activities but under what circumstances workers washboard is not known.