AskDefine | Define washout

Dictionary Definition



1 the channel or break produced by erosion of relatively soft soil by water; "it was several days after the storm before they could repair the washout and open the road"
2 the erosive process of washing away soil or gravel by water (as from a roadway); "from the house they watched the washout of their newly seeded lawn by the water" [syn: wash]
3 someone who is unsuccessful [syn: flop, dud]

User Contributed Dictionary


Alternative forms


From the verb wash out.


  • a UK /ˈwɒʃaʊt/


  1. An act of washing something out, or an appliance or device for doing so.
    The cistern was fitted with washouts and air-valves.
  2. biology medicine The cleaning of matter from a physiological system using a fluid.
  3. The action whereby falling rainwater clean particles from the air.
  4. A channel produced by the erosion of a relatively soft surface by a sudden gush of water.
  5. A disappointment or total failure; an unsuccessful person.
    As an actor, he was a complete washout, so he went back to accounting.
  6. A sporting fixture that could not be completed because of rain.
  7. The aerodynamic effect of a small twist in the shape of an aircraft wing

Extensive Definition

A washout is the sudden erosion of soft surfaces by a gush of water usually occurring during a heavy downpour of rain or flooding.

Effect on road and rail transport

In road and rail transport, a washout is the result of a natural disaster where the roadbed is eroded away by flowing water, usually as the result of a flood. When a washout destroys a railroad's right-of-way, the track is sometimes left suspended in midair across the newly formed gap, or it dips down into a ditch. the phenomenon is discussed in more detail under erosion.

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

ablution, airmanship, alluvion, alluvium, also-ran, bankrupt, bollix, bomb, botch, breakdown, breaking up, breakup, brief, briefing, bungle, bust, cataclysm, catastrophe, cave, cave-in, cleaning out, collapse, crack-up, crash, debacle, deluge, disaster, douche, douching, dud, dull thud, elution, elutriation, enema, engulfment, failure, false alarm, fiasco, fizzle, flat failure, flight plan, flood, flop, floperoo, flunk, flush, flushing, flushing out, flying lessons, foozle, frost, hash, inundation, irrigation, lathering, lavabo, lavage, lavation, laving, lemon, loser, mess, mopping, mopping up, muddle, overflow, overflowing, overrunning, pilot training, pilotship, rinse, rinsing, rundown, scouring, scrub, scrubbing, scrubbing up, shampoo, shipwreck, smash, smashup, soaping, spill, spillage, sponge, sponging, submersion, swabbing, the Deluge, the Flood, total loss, turkey, wash, washing, washing up, washup, whelming, wiping up, wrack, wreck
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