Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

drain - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

noun drain pronunciation in American English /dreɪn/
Word Forms
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. 1
    [countable] a pipe or passage through which water or waste liquid flows away

    The drain’s blocked again.

    1. a.

      the drains

      [plural] the system of pipes and passages that take away water or waste liquid in a town or city
  2. 2
    [singular] something that uses a lot of something such as money or supplies
    drain on:

    The war was becoming a serious drain on the nation’s resources.

  3. 3
    [singular] a situation in which a lot of people or things leave a country or organization
    drain of:

    The government pledged to stop the drain of capital overseas.

  4. 4
    [countable] medical a tube that carries liquid away from your body, for example one that carries blood away from an injury

    a chest drain



to fall over forwards so that your face hits the ground or another surface

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


the activity of exploring abandoned buildings and other manmade structures

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play