Meaning of “wash” in the English Dictionary

"wash" in English

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uk /wɒʃ/ us /wɑːʃ/

wash verb (CLEAN)

A1 [ T ] to clean something using water:

wash the car/clothes/floor
These sheets need washing.
I'll wash the bottle out (= clean its inside) and use it again.

A1 [ I ] US also wash up to clean yourself, or a part of yourself, with water and usually soap:

I'd like to wash before dinner.
wash well

If a particular material or piece of clothing washes well, it is not damaged or spoiled by repeated washing.

More examples

wash verb (FLOW)

[ I usually + adv/prep ] literary If water washes somewhere, it flows there, usually repeatedly:

She stood on the shore and let the water wash over her tired feet.
wash sb/sth up/ashore/overboard

(of the sea) to carry something or someone to or away from a place:

Overnight the waves had washed up a lot of rubbish.
More than 400 dead dolphins had been washed ashore.
A Spanish crew member had been washed overboard (= carried off a ship into the sea by the force of the water) in the storm.


uk /wɒʃ/ us /wɑːʃ/

wash noun (CLEANING)

A2 [ C usually singular ] the action of washing something or a part of your body:

Those curtains need a good (= careful) wash.
Erik needed a good wash after playing in the garden.
the wash [ S ]

all the clothes, sheets, etc. that are washed together, especially in a washing machine:

Can I put this shirt in (with) the white wash?
"Where's my pink shirt?" "It's in the wash" (= being washed or in a pile of clothes that is going to be washed).

mainly US →  washing

have a wash UK

to wash your body or a part of it:

I need to have a wash before dinner
do a wash UK

to clean clothes, sheets, etc., usually in a washing machine:

Are you doing a wash tonight?

wash noun (FLOW)

[ S ] literary (the sound made) when the sea moves against land, etc.:

Outside the house, she could hear the gentle wash of the waves on the beach.

(Definition of “wash” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"wash" in American English

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washverb [ I/T ]

us /wɑʃ, wɔʃ/

wash verb [ I/T ] (CLEAN)

to make something or yourself clean, or to become clean, using water and usually soap:

[ T ] Alex washed his face and combed his hair.
[ T ] I hate washing dishes.

wash verb [ I/T ] (FLOW)

(esp. of water) to flow or to cause to flow, often carrying something along:

[ I ] Waves washed against the boat.
[ T ] Heavy rains always wash the sand down the hill.

If something is washed away, it is carried off by heavy rain or a flood:

[ M ] Even trees and cars were washed away in this flood.

If something washes up or washes ashore, water has moved it there:

[ M ] That storm washed a lot of crabs up on the shore.


us /wɑʃ, wɔʃ/

wash noun (NO CHANGE)

[ C usually sing ] an event or situation in which positive and negative things balance each other:

I sold my car for about what it cost me, so it was a wash.

wash noun (CLEAN)

[ C/U ] an act of washing, or clothing, sheets, and other cloth items being cleaned together:

[ C usually sing ] I went days without a wash or a change of clothes.
[ U ] She did a load of wash and hung it up to dry.

(Definition of “wash” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)