wash out

Idioms & Phrases

wash out

  1. Remove or be removed by washing; also, cause to fade by laundering. For example, Give it to me; I'll wash out that stain, or The bleach has really washed out that bright print. [Mid-1700s]

  2. Wear away or be worn away by the flow of water, as in The river rose and washed out the dam, or The road has completely washed out. [Mid-1700s]

  3. Deplete or be depleted of energy, as in Working on her feet all day just washed her out, or I just washed out after that long tennis match. [Mid-1800s]

  4. Eliminate or be eliminated as unsatisfactory, as in He washed out of medical school after just one year, or After only two months as chairman I washed out. [Colloquial; early 1900s]

  5. Cancel owing to bad weather, as in The picnic was washed out. [Colloquial; early 1900s] Also see washed out.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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