Definition of drain in English:

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Pronunciation: /drān/


[with object]
1Cause the water or other liquid in (something) to run out, leaving it empty, dry, or drier: we drained the swimming pool
More example sentences
  • The feature is undergoing ‘major maintenance’ work which involves the water tanks being completely drained and all parts serviced.
  • Ultimately, maintenance drained the water tank, squashing that tricky freezing problem, and we took off.
  • He takes them to a line drawn on the ground (the putative location of the equator) and drains a pan of water on either side of it.
empty (out), void, clear (out), evacuate, unload
1.1Cause or allow (liquid) to run off or out of something: fry the pork and drain off any excess fat
More example sentences
  • The scuppers, or the devices to allow the water to drain off the decks have been opened - they're normally in a closed position.
  • Place on paper towel and allow the grease to drain off.
  • Marinate for 20 to 30 minutes, then drain off the liquid.
draw off, extract, withdraw, remove, siphon off, pour out, pour off;
milk, bleed, tap, void, filter, discharge
1.2Make (land) drier by providing channels for water to flow away in: the land was drained and the boggy ground reclaimed
More example sentences
  • Wetlands were being drained so the land could be developed, estuaries were being reclaimed and forests were being cut down.
  • Sixteen years after Dunsey steals the money, Godfrey drains the Stone-pits for land and Dunsey's skeleton is found.
  • When the tide rose, the gates could be opened to admit water into the ditches; when the tide fell, the land could be drained.
1.3(Of a river) carry off the superfluous water from (a district): the stream drains a wide moorland above the waterfall
More example sentences
  • The Axamilpa river drains this area and along its banks a sequence of Late Cenozoic sands, silts, and gravels are exposed.
  • These dolines are the equivalent of small valleys in a fluvial system, the waters from them uniting underground into the major stream draining the area.
  • Bounded on the north by the Ritter Range, the San Joaquin River drains a vast expanse of mountains south of Yosemite.
1.4 [no object] (Of water or another liquid) flow away from, out of, or into something: the river drains into the Pacific figurative Polly felt the blood drain from her face
More example sentences
  • It bled more, the red droplets draining into the water below me.
  • The landscaping is expected to include drainage panels in it so surface water will drain away into the river.
  • Local surface water drains into a number of rivers, according to Mr. Wood, with a drainage network flowing into rivers such as the Boyne and the Barrow.
flow, pour, trickle, stream, run, rush, gush, flood, surge;
leak, ooze, seep, dribble, issue, filter, bleed, leach
1.5 [no object] Become dry or drier as liquid runs off or away: dishes left to drain the plant should be watered well and allowed to drain
More example sentences
  • Each tube was inverted and drained on clean, absorbent paper, then allowed to air dry for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Remove from oil with tongs and allow to drain on a paper towel.
  • Remove from oil with a slotted metal spoon and allow to drain on a paper towel.
1.6(Of a person) drink the entire contents of (a glass or other container): he seized the Scotch set before him and drained it
More example sentences
  • Pulling out the stopper, she poured the thick contents into a goblet and drank deep, almost draining the glass.
  • They stood nervously at attention while Miri drained the entire glass.
  • Lifting the glass again, he drained out the remaining contents, his eyes closing as he savored the last drops on the alcohol.
1.7 [no object] (Of a feeling or emotion) become progressively less strongly felt: gradually the tension and stress drained away
More example sentences
  • Silly little first kisses were fine for people who hadn't truly found love, but that feeling drained away.
  • My slight feeling of content drained away, and my heart filled with despair.
  • he asked with soft wonder, all his anger, pain and frustration magically drained away.
2Deprive of strength or vitality: his limbs were drained of all energy Ruth slumped down in her seat, drained by all that had happened
More example sentences
  • I was drained of all my energy and I needed to be in a place where I could rest and finish High School and get help/support with my baby.
  • Through the most unlikely chain of events Mr Bloop had beaten all the odds, however he was obviously drained of all his energy and unable even to float upright in his tank at this point.
  • I asked if it was getting annoying, being drained of energy when there's so much to do, but she said she didn't have the energy to get annoyed.
2.1Cause (money, energy, or another valuable resource) to be lost, wasted, or used up: my mother’s hospital bills are draining my income
More example sentences
  • They chose not to turn to a parallel private system, on the grounds that it would drain valuable resources away from the public system.
  • The cost of building a new hospital and local care centres could drain the NHS of resources for patient care in the future, says the MP.
  • All the while, his huge spiritual resources are being drained.
use up, exhaust, deplete, consume, expend, get through, sap, strain, tax;
milk, bleed
2.2 [no object] (Of a resource) be lost, wasted, or used up: votes and campaign funds drained away from the Republican candidate
More example sentences
  • But, with resources draining away and the lease on the building set to expire in June, the board of trustees decided to make the youth workers redundant and close the club down in March.
  • Desperately needed resources are draining out of the world's poorest countries in debt repayments to rich creditors.
  • A small network can see its resources drained considerably by an infestation of bots.
3 Golf , informal (Of a player) hole (a putt).
Example sentences
  • His chip floats in to about 12 feet for three and he drains his birdie putt.
  • He putted superbly, draining a 30-footer on the 14th and a tricky downhill five footer on the 16th.
  • A dramatic charge took its first leap forward at the par - 5 fourth, where he found the green in two and drained an eagle putt from 18 feet.


1A channel or pipe carrying off surplus liquid, especially rainwater or liquid waste.
Example sentences
  • The room's toilet pipes and shower drains carry this waste to a holding tank.
  • At a hardware store, I laid the fittings out on the floor of the plumbing aisle and began to design our drain, waste and vent systems.
  • First try the liquid drain products that are compatible with your home plumbing system first.
sewer, channel, conduit, ditch, culvert, duct, pipe, gutter, trough;
sluice, spillway, race, flume, chute
1.1A tube for drawing off accumulating fluid from a body cavity or an abscess.
Example sentences
  • Note drain and second abscess in segments VII and VIII
  • The PACU nurse monitors the compression-bulb drain from the abdominal cavity for the type and quantity of output.
  • Tubes, sutures and drains cover his body from nose to abdomen.
1.2 Electronics The part of a field-effect transistor to which the charge carriers flow after passing the gate.
Example sentences
  • Thin film transistor array having single light shield layer over transistors and gate and drain lines
  • A comparator connects to the drain circuitry of the input transistors which supplies and offset voltage to the comparator.
  • Process of fabricating floating gate type field effect transistor having drain region gently varied in impurity profile
2 [in singular] A thing that uses up a particular resource: nuclear power is a serious drain on the public purse
More example sentences
  • This is expensive, so that neonatal care provides a significant drain on scarce resources.
  • Demands from the NSW Government for higher dividends are creating a drain on resources within the power entities.
  • In fact, they are a drain on its resources, creating a deficit of over Rs.12 lakhs a year, despite the huge income that tours generate for their promoters.
strain, pressure, burden, load, tax, demand
2.1The continuous loss or expenditure of a particular resource: the drain of our heritage
More example sentences
  • The introduction of upper division programs will result in new expenditures, which cannot help creating a drain on existing resources.
  • The company has consistently said that funding the continuing trading losses is the biggest drain on its cash flow.
  • This drain on financial resources limits the region's ability to continue to grow and create wealth.


go down the drain

informal Be totally wasted: the government must stop public money from going down the drain
More example sentences
  • Public money should not go down the drain in the name of road repairs.
  • That Minister, more than any other Minister in this House, has been responsible for public money going down the drain.
  • I feel like committing suicide as month of hard labour and money have gone down the drain.


Old English drēahnian, drēhnian 'strain (liquid)', of Germanic origin; related to dry.

Words that rhyme with drain

abstain, appertain, arcane, arraign, ascertain, attain, Bahrain, bane, blain, brain, Braine, Cain, Caine, campaign, cane, cinquain, chain, champagne, champaign, Champlain, Charmaine, chicane, chow mein, cocaine, Coleraine, Coltrane, complain, constrain, contain, crane, Dane, deign, demesne, demi-mondaine, detain, disdain, domain, domaine, Duane, Dwane, Elaine, entertain, entrain, explain, fain, fane, feign, gain, Germaine, germane, grain, humane, Hussein, inane, Jain, Jane, Jermaine, Kane, La Fontaine, lain, lane, legerdemain, Lorraine, main, Maine, maintain, mane, mise en scène, Montaigne, moraine, mundane, obtain, ordain, Paine, pane, pertain, plain, plane, Port-of-Spain, profane, rain, Raine, refrain, reign, rein, retain, romaine, sane, Seine, Shane, Sinn Fein, skein, slain, Spain, Spillane, sprain, stain, strain, sustain, swain, terrain, thane, train, twain, Ujjain, Ukraine, underlain, urbane, vain, vane, vein, Verlaine, vicereine, wain, wane, Wayne

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: drain

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