v. drained, drain·ing, drains
1. To draw off (a liquid) by a gradual process: drained water from the sink.
a. To cause liquid to go out from; empty: drained the bathtub; drain the pond.
b. To draw off the surface water of: The Mississippi River drains a vast area.
3. To drink all the contents of: drained the cup.
a. To cause (a resource or supply of something) to be used up gradually and often completely. See Synonyms at deplete.
b. To fatigue or spend emotionally or physically: The day's events drained me of energy.
5. Sports To put (a ball or shot) into a hole or basket, as in golf or basketball: drained the putt for a birdie.
1. To flow off or out: Gasoline drained slowly from the tilted can.
2. To become empty by the drawing off of liquid: watched the tub slowly drain.
3. To discharge surface or excess water: The Niagara River drains into Lake Ontario. When flooded, the swamp drains northward.
4. To become gradually depleted; dwindle: felt his enthusiasm draining.
1. A pipe or channel by which liquid is drawn off.
2. Medicine A device, such as a tube, inserted into the opening of a wound or body cavity to facilitate discharge of fluid or purulent material.
3. The act or process of draining.
a. A gradual outflow or loss; consumption or depletion: the drain of young talent by emigration.
b. Something that causes a gradual loss: interruptions that are a drain on my patience.
down the drain
To or into the condition of being wasted or lost: All of our best laid plans are down the drain.
[Middle English dreinen, to strain, drain, from Old English drēahnian.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.