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"flat ring for sealing joints or holding nuts," mid-14c., generally considered an agent noun of wash (v.), but the sense connection is difficult, and the noun may derive instead from the ancestor of French vis "screw, vise."
Old English wascan, wæscan, from Proto-Germanic *watskanan (cf. Old Norse vaska, Middle Dutch wasscen, Dutch wassen, German waschen), from stem *wat-, the source of water. Related: Washed; washing. Used mainly of clothes in Old English (the principal verb for washing the body, dishes, etc. being þwean). Washed-out "faded" is from 1837. Washed up is 1923 theater slang, from notion of washing up at the end of a job.
late Old English wæsc "act of washing" (see wash (v.)). Meaning "clothes set aside to be washed" is attested from 1789; meaning "thin coat of paint" is recorded from 1690s; sense of "land alternately covered and exposed by the sea" is recorded from mid-15c.
v. washed, wash·ing, wash·es
To cleanse, using water or other liquid, usually with soap, detergent, or bleach, by immersing, dipping, rubbing, or scrubbing.
To make moist or wet.
The act or process of cleansing or washing.
A solution used to cleanse or bathe a part.
To prove acceptable; bear testing •Usually in the negative: Well, it just won't wash/ The stereotype of gay males as child molesters just doesn't wash any more/ That washes. I'll buy it (1849+)Related Terms
[verb sense said to be fr a defective printed calico that could not be washed; third noun sense perhaps fr the notion that equal opposing elements wash each other out or away, or wipe the slate clean]
machine component that is used in conjunction with a screw fastener such as a bolt and nut and that usually serves either to keep the screw from loosening or to distribute the load from the nut or bolt head over a larger area. For load distribution, thin flat rings of soft steel are usual.