Language: Old English
Origin: wascan


1 verb
wash1 S1 W3

wash something

[transitive] to clean something using water and a type of soap:
This shirt needs washing.
It's your turn to wash the dishes.

wash yourself

[intransitive and transitive] to clean your body with soap and water:
Amy washed and went to bed.
She had a hot bath and washed her hair.
I'm just going to wash my hands.
wash yourself
When a cat has finished eating, it usually washes itself.


[intransitive,transitive always + adverb/preposition] if a river, sea etc washes somewhere, or if something carried by the river or sea is washed somewhere, it flows or moves there:
The waves washed against the shore.
The sea washed over her.
The young man was washed overboard (=pushed from a boat into the sea by the force of the water) in the storm.
The body was washed ashore (=brought to the shore by waves).

something doesn't/won't wash (with somebody)

spoken used to say that you do not believe or accept someone's explanation, reason, attitude etc:
I'm sorry but all his charm just doesn't wash with me.

wash your hands of something

to refuse to be responsible for something any more:
I've washed my hands of the whole affair.

wash your mouth out!

spoken old-fashioned used to tell someone who has just sworn or said something rude that they should not have spoken that way

wash well

to be easy to clean using soap and water:
Silk doesn't wash well.

➔ wash/air your dirty linen/laundry (in public)

at dirty1 (7)

wash something ↔ away

phrasal verb
1 if water washes something away, it carries it away with great force:
Floods in Bangladesh have washed hundreds of homes away.
2 to get rid of unhappy feelings, thoughts, or memories:
My anxiety was washed away.

wash something ↔ down

phrasal verb
1DHC to clean something large using a lot of water:
Can you wash down the driveway?
2 to drink something with or after food or with medicine to help you swallow it
wash something ↔ down with
steak and chips washed down with red wine

wash off

phrasal verb

wash something ↔ off

to clean dirt, dust etc from the surface of something with water
2 if a substance washes off, you can remove it from the surface of something by washing:
Will this paint wash off?

wash out

phrasal verb

wash something ↔ out

to wash the inside of something quickly:
I'll just wash out this vase for flowers.
2 if a substance washes out, you can remove it from a material by washing it:
a dye that won't wash out

be washed out

if an event is washed out, it cannot continue because of rain:
The summer fair was washed out by the English weather.

wash over somebody

phrasal verb
1 if a feeling washes over you, you suddenly feel it very strongly:
A feeling of relief washed over her.
2 if you let something wash over you, you do not pay close attention to it:
She was content to let the conversation wash over her.

wash up

phrasal verb
1 British EnglishDHC to wash plates, dishes, knives etc washing-up
2 American English to wash your hands:
Go wash up before dinner.

wash something ↔ up

if waves wash something up, they carry it to the shore
wash something ↔ up on
His body was washed up on the beach the next morning.
wash with soap and water
with a damp cloth
with a brush to remove the dirt
by rubbing with a cloth
by rubbing hard
with a broom
with water and a mop (a tool with a long handle)
also hoover British English with a machine that sucks up dust
using chemicals to kill germs
to clean your skin using a special cream
to put water on to remove dirt or soap
to remove dust, for example with a cloth

See also

Dictionary results for "wash"
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