views updated May 11 2018

drain / drān/ • v. [tr.] 1. cause the water or other liquid in (something) to run out, leaving it empty, dry, or drier: we drained the swimming pool. ∎  cause or allow (liquid) to run off or out of something: fry the pork and drain off any excess fat. ∎  make (land) drier by providing channels for water to flow away in: the land was drained and the boggy ground reclaimed. ∎  (of a river) carry off the superfluous water from (a district): the stream drains a wide moorland above the waterfall. ∎  [intr.] (of water or another liquid) flow away from, out of, or into something: the river drains into the Pacific | fig. Polly felt the blood drain from her face. ∎  [intr.] become dry or drier as liquid runs off or away: dishes left to drain | the plant should be watered well and allowed to drain. ∎  (of a person) drink the entire contents of (a glass or other container): he seized the Scotch set before him and drained it. ∎  [intr.] fig. (of a feeling or emotion) become progressively less strongly felt: gradually the tension and stress drained away.2. deprive of strength or vitality: his limbs were drained of all energy | Ruth slumped down in her seat, drained by all that had happened. ∎  cause (money, energy, or another valuable resource) to be lost, wasted, or used up: my mother's hospital bills are draining my income. ∎  [intr.] (of such a resource) be lost, wasted, or used up: votes and campaign funds drained away from the Republican candidate.3. inf. Golf (of a player) hole (a putt).• n. 1. a channel or pipe carrying off surplus liquid, esp. rainwater or liquid waste. ∎  a tube for drawing off accumulating fluid from a body cavity or an abscess. ∎  Electr. the part of a field-effect transistor to which the charge carriers flow after passing the gate.2. [in sing.] a thing that uses up a particular resource: nuclear power is a serious drain on the public purse. ∎  the continuous loss or expenditure of a particular resource: the drain of our heritage.PHRASES: go down the drain inf. be totally wasted: the government must stop public money from going down the drain.


views updated May 21 2018


A trench or ditch to convey water from wet land; a channel through which water may flow off. The word has no technical legal meaning. Any hollow space in the ground, natural or artificial, where water is collected and passes off, is a ditch or drain.

Also, sometimes, theeasementor servitude (acquired by grant or prescription) that consists of the right to drain water through another's land.

A number of states have drainage statutes in order to protect the welfare of the public. Such statutes provide for the construction of drains in areas that are swampy, marshy, or overflowed past their natural boundaries. Also contained in drainage statutes are provisions that regulate the creation and organization of drainage districts. The state legislature has the discretion to decide which lands will be included within a particular drainage district. For example, such a district might include territory of a city or village or property in two or more counties.

The specific plan for the construction of a drain is within the discretion of local authorities as modified by limitations or restrictions set forth by state drainage statutes. Only land that will be benefited through drainage improvements should properly be included within a drainage district.

In certain instances, liability has been extended to drainage districts that have failed to maintain existing drains. In order to remedy this situation, in some cases, landowners are given a certain portion of a drain to clean out and maintain in proper repair. Regardless of whether or not a landowner is specifically given the responsibility for maintenance, a landowner may only close or obstruct a drain with his or her neighbors' consent. If the land of an individual is injured because a public drain is being obstructed by a neighbor, then the person can bring suit for the damage resulting therefrom.

Subject to limitations imposed by the U.S. Constitution, a state legislature has the power to authorize drainage districts to prescribe special assessments to cover the cost of drainage improvements. Generally, only those lands included within a particular district are subject to such assessment. In certain states, school lands are exempted from assessments that drainage districts levy. Assessment review boards frequently entertain objections to drainage assessments; however, if no such board exists, assessments are subject to judicial reviews in the courts. A property owner can, therefore, go to court to challenge what he or she believes to be an unjust drainage assessment against his or her land.


views updated May 29 2018

drain (drayn)
1. n. a device, usually a tube or wick, used to draw fluid from an internal body cavity to the surface. Suction can be applied through a tube drain to increase its effectiveness.

2. vb. see drainage.


views updated May 29 2018

drain †strain OE.; draw liquid away in small quantities. XVI. OE. drēahnian, drēhnian, prob. f. *drēaʒ- :- Gmc. *drauʒ- (see DRY).
Hence as sb. XV. Hence drainage XVII.