Drain Out: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
November 19, 2023

The phrase "drain out" means emptying something by letting the contents flow through a drain or other opening. For example, you might "drain out" a tank of water by opening a valve at the bottom and allowing the liquid to empty. Similarly, to "drain out" a swimming pool means to open a release valve or siphon so that all the water flows out, leaving the pool empty.

In short:

"Drain out" typically refers to the act of emptying something, especially a liquid, from a container or space.

What Does "Drain Out" Mean?

"Drain out" refers to the complete removal of liquid from a particular space, leaving it empty. You might hear this term when someone is talking about getting all the water out of a bathtub or emptying a fish tank for cleaning.

Key aspects of the phrase's meaning:

  • At its most basic, "drain out" refers to emptying a liquid from a container. For example, after washing vegetables, one might "drain out" the water from the bowl.
  • It can also imply the removal or depletion of resources or energy. For instance, a long day at work might "drain out" one's energy.
  • In some contexts, "drain out" can mean to draw something out over a period, like how a suspenseful movie might "drain out" the tension until the very end.
  • Another variation is the feeling of being emotionally exhausted. Someone going through a tough phase might feel "drained out."

Where Does "Drain Out" Come From?

The phrase "drain out" likely originates from the Middle English word "dreinen," which itself comes from Old English "dreahnian." The Old English means "to draw off gradually, as a liquid; remove by degrees; strain out." This etymology suggests that the phrase has been used to describe gradually removing liquid from a particular place or object for quite some time. Over the years, the phrase has evolved to be used in various contexts, not just for liquids but also metaphorically, to describe the act of depleting resources or energy.

10 Examples of "Drain Out" in Sentences

Here are ten sentences showcasing different uses of drain out:

  • After washing the rice, keep in mind that you have to drain out the water completely before cooking.
  • The long meeting seemed to drain out all my energy.
  • When she heard the tragic news, she felt as if all happiness had been drained out of her.
  • Can you please drain out the old oil from the car before adding the new one? It would be much appreciated.
  • The suspense in the novel continued to drain out until the last page.
  • He felt drained out after trying times.
  • The plumber was called to drain out the blocked pipes in the bathroom.
  • After the festival, the volunteers helped to drain out the rainwater from the tents.
  • I feel you. I also try to drain out the negative thoughts and focus on the positive.
  • The company had to drain out its financial reserves due to the economic downturn.

These examples highlight the versatility of the idiom, demonstrating its use in various contexts and situations.

Examples of "Drain Out" in Pop Culture

Here are some instances where "drain out" has made an appearance in pop culture:

  • In the song “Bad Energy” by Juice WRLD, the lyrics go: "Drain out bad energy (Drain out bad energy) Forget the bad memories (Forget the bad memories)." The song is about Juice WRLD’s struggle with paranoia and his use of drugs to cope.
  • A quote from the book Japan Took the J.A.P. Out of Me by Lisa Fineberg Cook: "I am also back in front of the box, watching water drain out of the hose and onto the floor. Apparently I have forgotten to attach the hose to the drain in the floor."
  • A quote from the book How to Wipe Out Your Student Loans and Be Debt Free Fast: Everything You by Martha Maeda: "When the water will not drain out of your washing machine, the lights go out in the living room, your computer is acting funny, or the refrigerator is not cold any more, use your common sense and try to figure out what is wrong before you call a professional."

Synonyms: Other/Different Ways to Say "Drain Out"

There are several ways to convey the idea of "drain out" without using the exact phrase.

Here are some synonyms and alternative expressions:

  • Empty out
  • Deplete
  • Exhaust
  • Evacuate
  • Expel
  • Discharge
  • Release
  • Remove
  • Clear out
  • Siphon off

These alternatives can be used interchangeably in various contexts, depending on the nuance one wishes to convey.

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "Drain Out":

  • What does the idiom "drain out" generally mean?

It typically refers to the act of emptying or depleting something, especially a liquid, from a container or space.

  • Where did the phrase "drain out" originate?

The phrase has roots in Old English, with "drain" coming from the word "drægan," which meant "to carry" or "to bear."

  • Can "drain out" be used in a metaphorical sense?

Yes, it can. For instance, one might say they feel "drained out" after a long and tiring day, meaning they feel exhausted or depleted of energy.

  • Is "drain out" commonly used in everyday conversations?

Yes, it's a fairly common idiom used in various contexts, both literally and metaphorically.

  • Are there other idioms related to "drain out"?

Yes, idioms like "drain the swamp" or "down the drain" have similar themes but different meanings.

  • Can "drain out" be used in formal writing?

While it's primarily a colloquial expression, it can be used in formal writing if the context is appropriate.

  • Is "drain out" used in other languages as well?

Many languages have their own idioms that convey a similar meaning, but the exact phrase "drain out" might not be present.

  • How has the use of "drain out" evolved?

Originally linked to drawing off liquids, its use has expanded over time to include metaphorical meanings related to depletion or exhaustion.

  • Can "drain out" be used in a positive context?

While it often conveys a sense of loss or depletion, in some contexts, like "drain out toxins," it can have a positive implication.

  • What's the opposite of "drain out"?

Phrases like "fill up" or "replenish" can be considered opposites, depending on the context.

Final Thoughts About "Drain Out"

The phrase "drain out" commonly means removing liquid from a particular place or container, usually until it is empty. The phrase encapsulates the idea of a complete or thorough removal of a substance, often liquid.

To recap:

  • The term "drain" has its roots in Old English, "drēahnian," which means "to dry" or "to expel liquid." The extension "out" intensifies the verb, indicating a more complete or thorough action.
  • "Drain out" is often used in daily life to talk about tasks like emptying a bathtub or draining engine oil from a car.
  • The phrase is versatile and can be applied in different settings, such as household chores, mechanical tasks, or even metaphorically, like draining out one's energy or resources.
  • For example, a mechanic might say, "Let's drain out the old oil before we put in the new one," or someone tidying up after a party might say, "I need to drain out the cooler before storing it."
  • Using the phrase "drain out" frequently implies an action that is both deliberate and thorough, ensuring that no remnants of the liquid remain.

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