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Wash or Rinse - What's the difference?

wash | rinse |

In transitive terms the difference between wash and rinse

is that wash is to cover with water or any liquid; to wet; to fall on and moisten while rinse is to remove soap from (something) using water.

As verbs the difference between wash and rinse

is that wash is to clean with water while rinse is to wash (something) quickly using water and no soap.

As nouns the difference between wash and rinse

is that wash is the process or an instance of washing or being washed by water or other liquid while rinse is the action of rinsing.

As an initialism WASH

is Water, Sanitation and Hygiene.




  • To clean with water.
  • To move or erode by the force of water in motion.
  • Heavy rains wash a road or an embankment.
  • (mining) To separate valuable material (such as gold) from worthless material by the action of flowing water.
  • To clean oneself with water.
  • To cover with water or any liquid; to wet; to fall on and moisten.
  • Waves wash the shore.
  • * Milton
  • fresh-blown roses washed with dew
  • * Longfellow
  • [the landscape] washed with a cold, grey mist
  • To be eroded or carried away by the action of water.
  • (figuratively) To be cogent, convincing; to withstand critique.
  • * 2012 , (The Economist), Oct 13th 2012 issue, The Jordan and its king: As beleaguered as ever
  • The king is running out of ideas as well as cash. His favourite shock-absorbing tactic—to blame his governments and sack his prime ministers—hardly washes .
  • To bear without injury the operation of being washed.
  • To be wasted or worn away by the action of water, as by a running or overflowing stream, or by the dashing of the sea; said of road, a beach, etc.
  • To cover with a thin or watery coat of colour; to tint lightly and thinly.
  • To overlay with a thin coat of metal.
  • steel washed with silver

    Usage notes

    In older works and possibly still in some dialects, wesh'' and ''woosh'' may be found as past tense forms. ''Washen may be found as a past participle.

    Derived terms

    * dishwasher * jetwash * wash away * wash down * washed up / all washed up * washer * wash off * wash one's hands of * wash out * wash over * wash up


  • The process or an instance of washing or being washed by water or other liquid.
  • I'm going to have a quick wash before coming to bed.
    My jacket needs a wash .
  • A liquid used for washing.
  • The quantity of clothes washed at a time.
  • There's a lot in that wash : maybe you should split it into two piles.
  • (arts) A smooth and translucent .
  • The sound of breaking of the seas, e.g., on the shore.
  • I could hear the wash of the wave.
  • The wake of a moving ship.
  • The ship left a big wash
    Sail away from the wash to avoid rocking the boat.
  • The turbulence left in the air by a moving airplane.
  • A lotion or other liquid with medicinal or hygienic properties.
  • mouth wash
    hand wash
  • Ground washed away to the sea or a river.
  • * Mortimer
  • The wash of pastures, fields, commons, and roads, where rain water hath a long time settled.
  • A piece of ground washed by the action of water, or sometimes covered and sometimes left dry; the shallowest part of a river, or arm of the sea; also, a bog; a marsh.
  • * Shakespeare
  • These Lincoln washes have devoured them.
  • A shallow body of water.
  • In arid and semi-arid regions, the normally dry bed of an intermittent or ephemeral stream; an arroyo or wadi.
  • * 1997 , Stanley Desmond Smith, et al. Physiological Ecology of North American Desert Plants, Nature
  • In some desert-wash systems (which have been termed “xero-riparian”)
  • * 1999 , Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, A Natural History of the Sonoran Desert
  • ... though the wash may carry surface water for only a few hours a year.
  • * 2005 , Le Hayes, Pilgrims in the Desert: The Early History of the East Mojave Desert
  • Rock Spring Wash' continues a short distance then joins Watson '''Wash'''. Water from Rock Spring comes out of the boulder strewn ' wash and disappears into the sand
  • An situation in which losses and gains or advantages and disadvantages are equivalent; a situation in which there is no net change.
  • * 2003 , David Brenner, I Think There's a Terrorist in My Soup , page 100:
  • I knew that for every vote I cast for, say, the Republicans, some kid at a polling place nearby was casting his votes for the Democrats, so it was probably a wash or close to it.
  • Waste liquid, the refuse of food, the collection from washed dishes, etc., from a kitchen, often used as food for pigs; pigwash.
  • (Shakespeare)
  • In distilling, the fermented wort before the spirit is extracted.
  • A mixture of dunder, molasses, water, and scummings, used in the West Indies for distillation.
  • A thin coat of metal laid on anything for beauty or preservation.
  • (nautical) The blade of an oar.
  • The backward current or disturbed water caused by the action of oars, or of a steamer's screw or paddles, etc.
  • Ten strikes, or bushels, of oysters.
  • Derived terms

    * backwash * come out in the wash * car wash * mouthwash * wash and brushup * wash sale * washout * whitewash


    * *

    See also

    * WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) 1000 English basic words




  • To wash (something) quickly using water and no soap.
  • You'd better rinse that stain before putting the shirt in the washing machine.
  • To remove soap from (something) using water.
  • Rinse the dishes after you wash them.
  • (UK, slang) to thoroughly defeat in an argument, fight or other competition.
  • Checkmate!
    Oh no.
    You got rinsed .

    Derived terms

    * rinse off * rinse out


    (en noun)
  • The action of rinsing.
  • I'll just give this knife a quick rinse .
  • Any hair dye.
  • I had a henna rinse yesterday.


    * (l) * (l) * (l) * (l) * (l)