Definition of backwash in English:


Line breaks: back|wash
Pronunciation: /ˈbakwɒʃ


[mass noun]
  • 1The motion of receding waves: the backwash is reduced in energy by the percolation of water into the shingle
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    • This is succeeded by plane-bedded sands dipping gently seaward, which are produced by the swash and backwash of the waves on the beach face.
    • My toes were gently caressed by the backwash of warm foamy waves, and I followed the strange vibrations of the sound, my ears stuck in a trance.
    • The damage was mainly caused by the backwash - waves returning to the sea that sucked back debris from the shore such as trees, cars, sediment and parts of buildings, which broke and overturned corals.
    wake, wash, slipstream, backflow; path, trail
  • 1.1A backward current created by an object moving through water or air: the backwash of a truck on the autobahn
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    • The rotors started to spin up and they hurriedly jumped to the roof a few feet below, ducking to avoid the backwash from the spinning propellers as the copter lifted off the heliport and headed into the night skyline.
    • On arrival on the apron in Baghdad the pilot shuts down the engines as the hot engine backwash and dust need to be eliminated to maximise casualty comfort and well-being.
    • Because that wasn't the case in the relays, where the field would be widely spread by the time the anchorman hit the water, he had no backwash to contend with - and he could fly.
  • 1.2The unpleasant after-effects of an event: the backwash of the Cuban missile crisis
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    • The challenges facing not only this country, but the world, in the backwash of these events require more than parliamentary parrots squawking on their publicly funded perch.
    • Many responses contained wit born of desperation amid the backwash created by foot and mouth, BSE and the collapse of tourism.
    • Gay bookstores are caught in the backwash of an overwhelming tide of commercial consolidation that is swamping most small enterprises, gay and straight.
  • 1.3US informal The liquid that flows back into a bottle, glass, etc. after someone has taken a drink, assumed to contain that person’s saliva: Can you please stop drinking straight from the milk carton? I don’t want your backwash!
    More example sentences
    • Yup, our own scuzzy mouth backwash provides the bacteria.
    • I don't want to dismiss the social code entirely, but any true medical fears from backwash are utterly overrated.
    • It was a late dinner for us so the salsa was probably sitting there all day; we likely had the 'backwash' of it.


[with object] Back to top  
  • Clean (a filter) by reversing the flow of fluid through it: the very fine mesh is backwashed to remove solids
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    • The filters are backwashed every 24 hours to keep them clean.
    • ‘When we shut down the machine,’ he observed, ‘it backwashes itself to prevent potential problems with dried ink.’
    • There is also one backwash pump that is used to backwash the filters.

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Word of the day kerf
Pronunciation: kəːf
a slit made by cutting with a saw