washing


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wash (one's) dirty linen in public

To discuss very private, personal matters, especially that which may be embarrassing, in public or with other people. It always makes me uncomfortable when John starts going into all his personal problems whenever our friends get together. I just wish he wouldn't wash his dirty linen in public like that. People have an unnatural fixation on the personal lives of celebrities, but I don't see why they should be expected to wash their dirty linen in public.
See also: dirty, linen, public, wash

give (one's) head for the washing

To submit passively to a reprimand, punishment, or some sort of mistreatment. I knew I was getting home after curfew, and that my parents would be angry about it, so I just gave my head for the washing and didn't try to sneak in. Don't just give your head for the washing—tell him that he can't talk to you like that!
See also: give, head, washing

wash a brick

To do or attempt something futile. That couch will never fit up the steps—tell them to stop trying to wash a brick!
See also: brick, wash

wash (one's) hands

To clean one's hands, typically with soap and water. Kids, be sure to wash your hands before coming to the dinner table! Everyone in my class is sick, so I've been washing my hands constantly.
See also: hand, wash

wash (one's) dirty laundry in public

To discuss very private, personal matters, especially that which may be embarrassing, in public or with other people. It always makes me uncomfortable when John starts going into all his personal problems whenever our friends get together. I just wish he wouldn't wash his dirty laundry in public like that. People have an unnatural fixation on the personal lives of celebrities, but I don't see why they should be expected to wash their dirty laundry in public.
See also: dirty, laundry, public, wash

wash down

1. To flush or rinse someone or something with a liquid, as to clean or sanitize. A noun or pronoun can be used between "wash" and "down." Mom washed down the scrape before putting a bandage on it. The dog is covered in mud, so take the hose and wash him down.
2. To use the force of water or another liquid to move something. A noun or pronoun can be used between "wash" and "down." Don't wash down those bits of food in the sink—they'll clog up the drain.
3. To drink something in order to aid the act of eating or swallowing. A noun or pronoun can be used between "wash" and "down." I could use a cold soda to wash down these fries. If she struggles to swallow that pill, give her some more water to wash it down.
See also: down, wash

wash (one's) hands of (someone or something)

1. To absolve oneself of or distance oneself from responsibility for something. I don't want to be part of this scheme any more. I wash my hands of it.
2. To renounce, abandon, or distance oneself from someone or something. The director famously hated the final cut of the movie and has washed his hands of it, even going so far as to remove his name from the project. I'm afraid that if I tell my parents what I've done, they will wash their hands of me.
See also: hand, of, wash

wash out

1. verb To wash or clean the inside of something. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "wash" and "out." I hope I have time to wash out my car before our road trip. It smells a little funky in there. Unfortunately the flooding left a lot of mud inside the shed, so we'll have to wash it out. My water bottle got a little scummy so it will need to be washed out.
2. verb, slang To fail and be unable to continue something, often schooling. A lot of kids simply aren't ready for the demands of college life and end up washing out the first semester.
3. verb To remove or be removed from fabric, as of a stain. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "wash" and "out." I'm going to try to wash out the wine stain from the carpet. Do you think these grass stains will wash out?
4. verb To rain excessively enough to result in the cancellation of an event. I'm sure the network is anxious about the possibility that the storm will wash out the big game, but that was always the risk of having it at an open stadium. Our game got washed out last night, so we'll have to make it up next week.
5. verb To flood something with water and erode it or make it flow away. Heavy rains washed out the topsoil, so we'll have to reseed the entire garden.
6. verb To lose a lot of money, as in a poor investment, bad deal, or when gambling. For as many times as you've washed out at the casino, I thought you'd have learned your lesson by now. A lot of investors washed out when the housing market collapsed.
7. verb To collapse, fall apart, or lose the ability to function. The marathon runner washed out within sight of the finish line, completely unable to continue. The push to pass the legislation washed out as soon as just two lawmakers defected from the effort.
8. verb To lose control and/or get into an accident; to wipe out. The viral video showed the racecar washing out severely but miraculously without injury to the driver. I got that scar from washing out on my bike when I was a kid.
9. verb To exhaust or become exhausted. By game 7, you could tell most of the players had completely washed out. The grueling training regimen can easily wash out those who aren't prepared for it.
10. verb To make someone or something look faded, pale, or less vibrant. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "wash" and "out." This shirt might not be the right color. Does it wash me out? Photographers usually like to avoid shooting in midday sunshine because it's too bright and washes out all the colors.
11. noun A failure or disappointment. As a noun, the phrase is usually hyphenated or spelled as one word. He was a star player until he got busted for drugs and became a total washout. The much-hyped new department store layout turned out to be a complete washout, with sales even worse than before.
See also: out, wash

co-wash

To wash one's hair using only conditioner (rather than shampoo and conditioner). "Co" is short for "conditioner." Ladies with thick, curly hair have taken to co-washing their tresses, to avoid stripping their hair of natural oils.

wash away

1. To be removed or carried away by a moving body of water. Half the town washed away during the floods. Jonathan forgot to moor the boat properly, and it washed away when the tide went out.
2. To carry or remove by lifting or pushing it with the force of moving water. A noun or pronoun can be used between "wash" and "away." Heavy rains have been washing away the top soil for farmers across the country. He began spraying the driveway with a hose to wash the dirt away.
3. To drift or fade away. Said especially of negative emotions or memories. Being with you now makes all those years of regret just wash away. You might need to seek help if the only thing to help your sorrow wash away is alcohol.
4. To remove, assuage, or atone for some negative feeling, memory, or experience. A noun or pronoun can be used between "wash" and "away." He's been trying to wash away his guilt for exploiting his stabbing partners in the back by making huge contributions to various charities. Only time can wash this kind of grief away.
See also: away, wash

wash off

1. To become quickly cleaned of dirt or residue by rinsing or scrubbing them or it with soap and water. I've been out digging in the garden all morning, so I'd like to wash off before we go anywhere.
2. To have the ability to become quickly or easily cleaned of dirt or residue by rinsing or scrubbing them or it with soap and water. These play mats are made of plastic, so they wash off pretty easily.
3. To have the ability to be quickly or easily removed by rinsing or scrubbing with soap and water. It's just a bit of mud, Mom—it'll wash off!
4. To quickly or lightly clean someone or something of dirt or residue by rinsing or scrubbing them or it with soap and water. A noun or pronoun can be used between "wash" and "off." We'll need to wash off the side of the house and let it dry before we start painting. The dog is covered in mud, so take him out back and wash him off before you let him back into the house. We've been at the beach all day, so I just want to wash the kids off before we go out for dinner later.
5. To clean dirt or reside off of someone or something by spraying or flushing them or it with a liquid, especially water. A noun or pronoun can be used between "wash" and "off." Be sure to wash the mud off your boots before you bring them into the house. I'm going to take a quick shower to wash the dirt and sweat off me.
See also: off, wash

wash up

1. To become clean by scrubbing with soap and water, especially one's hands and face. I've been out digging in the garden all morning, so I'd like to wash up before we go anywhere tonight. Make sure the kids wash up before dinner.
2. To clean the dishes, utensils, pots, and pans from a meal. You cooked dinner, so I'll wash up! I don't mind washing up, if you'll dry everything with a towel for me.
3. To clean something with soap and water. A noun or pronoun can be used between "wash" and "up." I didn't have enough money to pay for my meal, so the restaurant made me stay and wash their dishes up for them instead.
See also: up, wash

greenwash

1. verb To make illegally-obtained money appear to have come from legal channels; to launder money. This isn't a foolproof plan, Jack—eventually, someone is going to catch you greenwashing.
2. noun Activities undertaken by an organization or company so that it appears more environmentally conscious. Is this "recycled content" label legit, or is it just greenwash?

wash away

to be carried away by water or some other liquid. The bridge washed away in the flood. All the soil washed away and left the rocks exposed.
See also: away, wash

wash off (someone or something)

 and wash off of (someone or something)
to be carried off of or away from someone or something by the action of water or another liquid. (Of is usually retained before pronouns.) The dirt washed off of the floor easily. The label washed off this can, and now I don't know what's in it.
See also: off, wash

wash out

 
1. Inf. to fail and be removed from something, such as school. I studied all I could, but I still washed out. I don't want to wash out. It's my whole future.
2. Inf. to have a serious wreck; to wipe out. The little car washed out on the curve. The vehicles have a tendency to wash out when cornering.
3. Inf. to lose a large amount of money. Fred washed out on that stock deal. Lefty and Willie washed out at the racetrack.
4. Inf. to break down or collapse from exhaustion. The whole play began to wash out during the second act. It was a lost cause by the third. Finally, after a long day, I just washed out. They had to call the paramedics.
See also: out, wash

wash someone or something away

[for a flood of water] to carry someone or something away. The flood washed the boats away. The high water washed away much of the sand along the shoreline.
See also: away, wash

wash someone or something off

to clean someone or something by washing. She washed the muddy children off with a hose and put their clothes right into the washing machine. Jane washed off the children.
See also: off, wash

wash someone or something up

 
1. to clean up someone or something by washing. Please wash the baby up as long as you are changing the diaper. I'll wash up the baby. Sam will wash himself up before dinner.
2. [for water or the waves] to bring someone or something up onto the shore or beach. Look what the waves washed up! A bottle with a note in it! The waves washed a bottle up.
See also: up, wash

wash someone out

Fig. to deplete the strength or vitality of someone. The flu really washed me out. The disease washed out the whole class.
See also: out, wash

wash someone up

to terminate someone in something. This error is going to wash you up as an account executive. That washed me up. Problems like this have washed up quite a few careers.
See also: up, wash

wash something away

to clean something by scrubbing and flushing away the dirt. Fresh water will wash the seawater away. Let's wash away these muddy footprints.
See also: away, wash

wash something down something

to get rid of something by flooding it down the sewer, drain, sink, etc. Wash all the soap suds down the drain and clean the sink, please. Please wash all that stuff down the drain.
See also: down, wash

wash something down

 (with something)
1. to clean something by flooding with water, alcohol, etc. The doctor washed the area down and began to stitch up the wound. She washed down the wound with alcohol to clean it thoroughly. Todd washed the driveway down with water.
2. Fig. to use fluid to aid the swallowing of food or medicine. Molly washed the pills down with a gulp of coffee. She washed down the pills with a glass of water.
See also: down, wash

wash something off (of) someone or something

 and wash something off
to clean something off someone or something. (Of is usually retained before pronouns.) I have to wash this tomato sauce off my jacket before it stains it. I will wash off the tomato stains.
See also: off, wash

wash something out

 
1. to wash out the inside of something; to wash something made of fabric. I have to wash my socks out tonight. Wash the pitcher out before you put it away. I will wash out my socks tomorrow.
2. Fig. to rain on or flood an event so that it must be canceled. (Fig. on {2}.) Rain washed the game out. The storm washed out the picnic.
3. to wash or erode something out or away. The flood washed the new bushes out. The rains washed out the paving stones.
See also: out, wash

wash up (for something)

to clean [oneself] up for something, such as a meal. Please wash up for dinner. Go and wash up!
See also: up, wash

wash down

1. Clean by washing from top to bottom, as in He always washes down the walls before painting. [Second half of 1800s]
2. Drink a liquid after eating food or taking medicine, as in He washed down the pills with a glass of water. [c. 1600]
See also: down, wash

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.
See also: out, wash

wash up

1. Wash one's hands and face, as in It's time to wash up for dinner. [First half of 1900s] Also see clean up, def. 2.
2. Clean the utensils after a meal, as in I'll cook dinner if you promise to wash up. [Mid-1700s] Also see do the dishes.
3. Bring about the end or ruin of; finish. This usage is often used put in the passive, be washed up, as in She's all washed up as a singer. [Colloquial; early 1900s]
See also: up, wash

wash away

v.
1. To carry away or remove something by the action of moving water: The waves washed away the debris on the beach. Heavy rains washed the topsoil away.
2. To be carried away or removed by the action of water: Our boat washed away in the storm.
3. To eliminate some corruption or guilt: He tried to wash away his regret by getting drunk. She hoped to wash her guilt away by confessing to the crime.
See also: away, wash

wash down

v.
1. To cleanse the surface of something using water or other liquid: We washed down the walls. My neighbor washed the car down.
2. To cause something to be carried or drawn down by the action of water or similar liquid: We tried to wash the grease down, but it stuck to the sides. I washed the tar down with the hose.
3. To follow the ingestion of something, such as food, with the ingestion of a liquid: After the party, we washed the cake down with coffee. I washed down the medicine with some juice.
See also: down, wash

wash off

v.
1. To remove something by washing: I washed the dirt off. The cook washed off the grease.
2. To be removed by washing: The stain won't wash off. The dirt washed off easily.
3. To cleanse something by using water or other liquid to remove what is on it: Wash off the equipment before you put it away. I washed the dishes off and set them in the rack.
4. To cleanse oneself by using water or other liquid to remove what is on one's body: I need to wash off before dinner.
See also: off, wash

wash out

v.
1. To cleanse something by using water or other liquid to remove what is inside it: Wash out the cup before you use it. I washed out my hair. The trash can smelled, so I washed it out.
2. To remove something by washing: She washed out the stain. He applied the conditioner, waited 30 seconds, and then washed it out.
3. To be removed by washing: The grease washed out without a problem.
4. To cause something to fade by laundering: Bleach might wash out the color. Repeated launderings washed my jeans out.
5. To cause something to fade or appear faded: The moonlight washed out the stars. That suit really washed him out.
6. To carry or wear something away by the action of moving water: The river rose and washed out the dam. A large wave washed our picnic basket out to sea.
7. To be carried or worn away by the action of moving water: The bridge has washed out, so we'll need to take another route.
8. To deplete someone of vitality: The long rehearsal washed out the cast. The long day in the sun washed us out. By evening, I was washed out from overwork.
9. To eliminate as unsatisfactory: The captain washed out everyone responsible for the mistake. Several employees weren't any good, and the manager washed them out.
10. To be eliminated as unsatisfactory: The officer candidate washed out after one month.
11. To force the cancellation or postponement of some event because of rain: The storm washed out the parade. Team practice was washed out yesterday.
See also: out, wash

wash up

v.
1. To carry something ashore by the action of water: The current washed up some cargo from the sunken ship. The tide washed some seaweed up on shore.
2. To be carried ashore by the action of water: This piece of driftwood washed up onto the beach.
3. To wash one's hands: Please wash up before dinner.
4. To wash dishes after a meal: Whose turn is it to wash up?
See also: up, wash

greenwash

tv. to launder money; to obliterate the illegal sources of money by moving it through a variety of financial institutions. (Underworld.) It was shown in court that the mayor had been involved in greenwashing some of the bribe money.

wash out

1. in. to fail and be removed from something, such as school. (see also washout.) I don’t want to wash out. It’s my whole future.
2. in. to have a serious wreck; to wipe out. The vehicles have a tendency to wash out when cornering.
3. in. to lose a large amount of money. Fred washed out on that stock deal.
4. in. to slow down or collapse from exhaustion. (see also washed out.) The whole play began to wash out during the second act. It was a lost cause by the third.
See also: out, wash
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