Definition of backwash in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈbakˌwôSH/
Pronunciation: /ˈbakˌwäSH/


1The motion of receding waves.
Example sentences
  • 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
1.1A backward current of water or air created by the motion of an object through it: the backwash of a truck on the highway
More example sentences
  • 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.
1.2Repercussions: the backwash of the Cuban missile crisis
More example sentences
  • 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.
repercussions, reverberations, aftereffects, aftermath, fallout
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
  • If you enjoy carrot juice and don't mind a little bit of backwash, contact me and I'll hook you up with the rest of the bottle.
  • I hope you don't mind but my coworkers took sips so there are a few more speckles of backwash in it now.
  • Terry and Alice share a beer glass for some bizarre reason (am I the only one who fears backwash?)


[with object]
Clean (a filter) by reversing the flow of fluid through it.
Example sentences
  • 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.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: back·wash

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