from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To draw off (a liquid) by a gradual process: drained water from the sink.
  • transitive v. To cause liquid to go out from; empty: drained the bathtub; drain the pond.
  • transitive v. To draw off the surface water of: The Mississippi River drains a vast area.
  • transitive v. To drink all the contents of: drained the cup.
  • transitive v. To deplete gradually, especially to the point of complete exhaustion. See Synonyms at deplete.
  • transitive v. To fatigue or spend emotionally or physically: The day's events completely drained me of all strength.
  • intransitive v. To flow off or out: Gasoline drained slowly from the tilted can.
  • intransitive v. To become empty by the drawing off of liquid: watched the tub slowly drain.
  • intransitive v. To discharge surface or excess water: The Niagara River drains into Lake Ontario. When flooded, the swamp drains northward.
  • intransitive v. To become gradually depleted; dwindle: felt his enthusiasm draining.
  • n. A pipe or channel by which liquid is drawn off.
  • n. 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.
  • n. The act or process of draining.
  • n. A gradual outflow or loss; consumption or depletion: the drain of young talent by emigration.
  • n. Something that causes a gradual loss: interruptions that are a drain on my patience.
  • idiom down the drain To or into the condition of being wasted or lost: All of our best laid plans are down the drain.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A conduit allowing liquid to flow out of an otherwise contained volume.
  • n. Something consuming resources and providing nothing in return.
  • n. An act of urination.
  • n. The name of one terminal of a field effect transistor (FET).
  • v. To lose liquid.
  • v. To cause liquid to flow out of.
  • v. To convert a perennially wet place into a dry one.
  • v. To deplete of energy or resources.
  • v. To fall off the bottom of the playfield.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of draining, or of drawing off; gradual and continuous outflow or withdrawal.
  • n. That means of which anything is drained; a channel; a trench; a water course; a sewer; a sink.
  • n. The grain from the mashing tub.
  • intransitive v. To flow gradually.
  • intransitive v. To become emptied of liquor by flowing or dropping.
  • transitive v. To draw off by degrees; to cause to flow gradually out or off; hence, to cause the exhaustion of.
  • transitive v. To exhaust of liquid contents by drawing them off; to make gradually dry or empty; to remove surface water, as from streets, by gutters, etc.; to deprive of moisture; hence, to exhaust; to empty of wealth, resources, or the like.
  • transitive v. To filter.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To draw off gradually, as a liquid; remove or convey away by degrees, as through conduits, by filtration, or by any comparable process: as, to drain water from land, wine from the lees, or blood from the body; to drain away the specie of a country.
  • To free, clear, or deprive by degrees, as of a liquid; empty or exhaust gradually: as, to drain land of water (the most familiar use of the word); to drain a vessel of its contents; to drain a country of its resources.
  • To flow off gradually.
  • To be gradually emptied, as of a liquid: as, the cask slowly drains.
  • n. The act of draining or drawing off, or of emptying by drawing off; gradual or continuous outflow, withdrawal, or expenditure.
  • n. That which drains, or by means of which draining is immediately effected.
  • n. Specifically— A passage, pipe, or open channel for the removal of water or other liquid; especially, a pipe or channel for removing the surplus water from soils. Drains may be open ditches or sunken pipes or conduits. Those for wet lands are so made as to permit the percolation into them of water from the adjacent soil, as by the use in a covered conduit of porous earthen pipes or tiles, or of a filling of small stones, of an open cut where there is a sufficient slope, etc. See sewer.
  • n. The trench in which the melted metal flows from a furnace to the molds
  • n. In surgery, a hollow sound or canula used to draw off purulent matter from a deep seated abscess.
  • n. Pl. The grain from the mash-tub: distinctively called brewers' drains.
  • n. In ship-building, a large pipe which runs through or above the double bottom of a war-ship and is connected with the principal pumps to remove water from the various compartments.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. empty of liquid; drain the liquid from
  • v. flow off gradually
  • n. a pipe through which liquid is carried away
  • n. emptying something accomplished by allowing liquid to run out of it
  • v. deplete of resources
  • v. make weak
  • n. tube inserted into a body cavity (as during surgery) to remove unwanted material
  • n. a gradual depletion of energy or resources


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English dreinen, to strain, drain, from Old English drēahnian.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English dreinen (verb) from Old English drēahnian ("to drain, strain, filter"), from Proto-Germanic *draug- (“dry”), akin to Old English drūgian ("to dry up"), drūgaþ ("dryness, drought"), Old English drȳge ("dry"). More at dry


  • Brain drain is still claiming Canadian doctors, but not our doctorals.

    he'll think about it tomorrow

  • She noted that the more typical "brain drain" is to the US, as Canadian professionals leave for greater income potential.

    immigration update

  • If there is brain drain from a particular country, it can scarcely develop.

    Mat Salleh Boleh!!!

  • That a slip-slide into banality leads to forum brain drain is a sort of Catch-22 given.

    Archive 2004-12-01

  • The brain drain is not the consequence of some sort of collective despair.

    Hong Kong: Myths and Realities

  • Hong Kong's brain drain is both a myth and a reality -- a myth in that its proportions tend to be wildly exaggerated, and in that its existence is attributed to a largely imaginary state of panic supposedly to be found in Hong Kong.

    Hong Kong: Myths and Realities

  • Highly educated women’s abandonment of the workplace is not an extension of the centuries of upper-class arm candy; it’s a sex-specific brain drain from the future rulers of the society ....

    Archive 2008-08-01

  • Ainalem puts it this way: One potential solution to Africa’s brain drain is virtual participation.

    African blessings

  • America's loss may be India's gain, analysts say, pointing to a 'reverse brain drain' that may see India reaping benefits for years to come.

    The Kept-Up Academic Librarian:

  • Watch the water drain from the roof of the greenhouses.

    Archive 2009-01-01


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.