Share this entry

washboard Line breaks: wash|board
Pronunciation: /ˈwɒʃbɔːd/

Definition of washboard in English:


1A board made of ridged wood or a sheet of corrugated zinc, used when washing clothes as a surface against which to scrub them.
Example sentences
  • Their chores will be done with the implements of the day, which means they will be cooking their meals over an open fire and washing their clothes with a washboard.
  • Washing happened in an enormous sink on the rooftop or in the compound, scrubbed in cold water and using a special detergent and a stiff brush on a corrugated washboard.
  • A quarter-century of feminism and here's advice on how to use a washboard and scrub the kitchen floor on your hands and knees.
1.1A ridged or corrugated board used as a percussion instrument.
Example sentences
  • Phil Rourke plays tea chest box bass while Matt Elliot handles the percussion, playing the washboard, shakers, snare drum, tin can and all-important cow bell.
  • The Bayou Brothers sound features a variety of instruments including the double bass, harmonica, washboard, kazoo, jaw harp, guitar and mandolin.
  • He boasts ownership of ‘congas, washboards, harmonica and guitar’, the way other movie stars boast of owning vintage cars.
1.2 [as modifier] Denoting a man’s stomach that is lean and has well-defined muscles: guys with washboard stomachs washboard abdominal muscles
More example sentences
  • I like guys with washboard stomachs - I consider that sexy.
  • I casually thumbed through - guys with bright neon trunks, guys with washboard stomachs, guys with fetishes and guys with other guys adorned the glossy pages.
  • GI-Joe had a nice bulge to match his biceps and washboard stomach.
1.3 [mass noun] North American A ridged, uneven road surface: a patch of washboard bounces the wheels around sixteen miles of washboard
More example sentences
  • The ride was especially harsh over a short stretch of washboards.
  • As expected, the treacherous first third of the course beats her up: the three supersteep descents, the large patches of axle-deep sand, and the mile-long section of washboard.
  • A linear compression rate through the first half of the suspension travel and then a slightly rising rate for the last half results in a long, smooth ride that sucks up everything from washboard to 50-foot road gaps.
2A board fixed along the side of a boat to prevent water from spilling in over the edge.


[with object] (usually as adjective washboarded) chiefly North American Back to top  
Cause ridges to develop in (a road or road surface): a road left washboarded by winter frost
More example sentences
  • The fluttering blue flags marking cut areas in the scorched trees signal that my days bumping down these washboarded roads have been in vain.
  • After about three miles of joint-rattling, washboard dirt roads we rounded a corner and got our first gander at the Buttermilks.
  • He scowls and flings the cap out into the washboarded road.

Words that rhyme with washboard

signboard • whiteboard

Definition of washboard in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day haughty
Pronunciation: ˈhôdē
arrogantly superior and disdainful