drain Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo
Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

Meaning of “drain” in the English Dictionary

"drain" in British English

See all translations

drainverb

uk   /dreɪn/  us   /dreɪn/
  • drain verb (REMOVE LIQUID)

C2 [I or T] If you drain something, you ​remove the ​liquid from it, usually by ​pouring it away or ​allowing it to ​flow away, and if something drains, ​liquidflows away or out of it: Drain the ​pastathoroughly. We drained the ​pond and ​filled it with ​freshwater. Drain (off) any ​liquid that is ​left in the ​rice. Don't ​botherdrying the ​pans - just ​leave them to drain.
[T] If you drain a ​glass or ​cup, you ​drink all the ​liquid in it.

expend iconexpend iconMore examples

  • drain verb (MAKE TIRED)

C2 [T] to make someone very ​tired: The ​longjourneycompletely drained me.
  • drain verb (REDUCE)

C2 [I or T] to ​reduce or ​cause something to ​reduce: The ​longwar had drained the ​resources of both ​countries. War drains a ​nation ofitsyouth and ​itswealth (= uses them until they are gone).
[I] If the ​blood/​colour drains from ​yourface, or if ​yourface drains (of ​blood/​colour), you ​turn very ​pale, often because you are ​shocked or ​ill: The ​colour drained from hisface/​cheeks when they told him the ​results.
Phrasal verbs

drainnoun

uk   /dreɪn/  us   /dreɪn/
  • drain noun (PIPE)

C2 [C] a ​pipe or channel that is used to ​carry away ​wastematter and ​water from a ​building, or an ​opening in the ​road that ​rainwater can ​flow down: I ​think the ​kitchen drain is ​blocked. She ​accidentallydropped her ​ring down a drain in the ​road.
drains [plural] UK
the ​system of ​pipes, ​openings in the ​ground, or other ​devices that are used for ​carrying away ​wastematter and ​water: There was an ​unpleasantsmell coming from the drains.
[C] US (UK plughole) a ​hole in a ​bath, ​sink, etc. through which ​waterflows away and into which you can put a ​plug

expend iconexpend iconMore examples

  • drain noun (MAKE TIRED)

[S] something that makes you ​feel very ​tired: I ​think taking ​care of her ​elderlymother is a ​big drain on her ​energy.
(Definition of drain from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"drain" in American English

See all translations

drainverb [I/T]

 us   /dreɪn/
to ​allow or ​causeliquid to ​flow away from something: [I] Wash the ​lettuce in the ​sink and ​let it drain. [T] Drain the ​lettuce and then ​pat it ​dry with ​papertowels.
If something drains you, it makes you very ​tired: [T] It drains you to ​work with a ​class of 20 four-year-olds, ​let me ​tell you.

drainnoun [C]

 us   /dreɪn/
a ​pipe or ​channel that ​carries away ​wastewater or other ​liquids: She ​spilled some ​sugar in the ​sink and ​washed it down the drain.
Something that is a drain on you ​takes away a lot of ​yourenergy and makes you ​tired: Taking ​care of his ​sickmother was ​quite a drain on him.
If something is a drain on ​yourmoney or something ​else, it uses a lot of it or makes it ​weaker: Having two ​mortgages was a ​tremendous drain on ​theirresources.
(Definition of drain from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"drain" in Business English

See all translations

drainnoun [C, usually singular]

uk   us   /dreɪn/
something that uses too much of your ​energy, ​money, or ​time: Having a ​bigmortgage is a ​real drain on your ​earnings. Unexpected ​repairs to the ​building have been a huge drain on our ​financial resources. The company's ​pensionliability has become a cash drain.
down the drain informal
completely ​wasted or spoiled: When the ​project was ​scrapped, all our ​efforts went down the drain. People ​feel that ​rentingproperty is money down the drain.
See also

drainverb

uk   us   /dreɪn/
[T] to ​reduce or ​remove a large ​amount of something: drain sth from sth The ​government is enforcing a ​deal that ​allows it to drain ​billions from ​miners' ​pensionschemes.drain reserves/resources They took on ​work that was not ​profitable, draining ​cashresources.
[I] to disappear gradually: How can we make sure ​business does not drain out of the country? The riches ​lured in too much ​competition and ​profits are now beginning to drain away.
(Definition of drain from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of drain?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

“drain” in American English

“drain” in Business English

There, their and they’re – which one should you use?
There, their and they’re – which one should you use?
by ,
April 27, 2016
by Liz Walter If you are a learner of English and you are confused about the words there, their and they’re, let me reassure you: many, many people with English as their first language share your problem! You only have to take a look at the ‘comments’ sections on the website of, for example, a popular

Read More 

Word of the Day

cracker

a thin, flat, hard biscuit, especially one eaten with cheese

Word of the Day

bio-banding noun
bio-banding noun
April 25, 2016
in sport, grouping children according to their physical maturity rather than their age ‘When we’re grouping children for sports, we do it by age groups, but the problem is that, within those age groups, we get huge variations in biological age,’ said Dr Sean Cumming, senior lecturer at the University of Bath’s department for

Read More