What is the X in X-mas?
"disappointing failure," 1902, from verbal phrase wash out "obliterate, cancel," attested from 1570s, hence colloquial sense of "to call off (an event) due to bad weather, etc."
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 punish someone for using offensive language: Ma Gingrich ought to wash Newtie's mouth out with soap. He owes the First Lady big time (1920s+)
A situation or place where there is fighting or crime, such as a rough neighborhood: the war zone of Bridgeport
A technique of evading surveillance by taking an absurdly indirect route from one place to another (1990s+ Police)