See also: wash, Wash, WASH, Wash., and The Wash



From whitewash. Second sense popularised by greenwash.



  1. To coat with, or a coating of, paint of the colour specified.
    • 1848, Joshua Fawcett, Church rides in the neighbourhood of Scarborough, Yorkshire, page 22:
      At present, successive coats of yellowwash fill up the rich decoration of this doorway, so that its beauty is not brought out to the eye of the unpractised visitor.
    • 1930, Francis Hamilton, Journal of Francis Buchanan Kept During the Survey of the District of Bhagalpur in 1810-1811
      The natives dig clay from both places, in order to paint or rather redwash the walls of their huts.
    • 2021, Roger H. Guichard, Middle East Tapestry, Wipf and Stock Publishers (→ISBN), page 266:
      The only touch of color was provided by a small copy Leonardo's Last Supper and three crudely painted windows, executed in a kind of bluewash and orangewash, over the altar.
  2. To focus on, or an act of focussing on, a supposedly positive aspect of an organisation in order to distract from or downplay negative perceptions.
    • 2004, John M. Talbot, Grounds for Agreement: The Political Economy of the Coffee Commodity Chain, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (→ISBN), page 210:
      They are likely to remain small and relatively marginalized niche markets, even as some of their rhetoric is appropriated by the TNCs for use as marketing gimmicks and bluewash.
    • 2012, Guy Pearse, Greenwash: Big Brands and Carbon Scams, Black Inc. (→ISBN)
      In embracing and promoting their collaborations with WWF, these companies are being encouraged to greenwash their brands with the WWF logo.
    • 2014, Bruce Burgett, Glenn Hendler, Keywords for American Cultural Studies, Second Edition, NYU Press (→ISBN)
      One might argue that more is at stake than hiring multiracial, female, and lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender (LGBT) employees to rainbowwash corporate agendas.
    • 2018, Cyril Ghosh, De-Moralizing Gay Rights: Some Queer Remarks on LGBT+ Rights Politics in the US, Springer (→ISBN), page 20:
      Spade suggests here, in the same breath, both that the Obama administration uses its "declarations of gay rights" to pinkwash and that its support for gay rights is "used as a rationale for domestic and international regimes of racialized violence and warfare."
  3. (informal) An overwhelming victory by a team or entity of the colour specified; often a clean sweep.
    • 2016 June 21, Webster, Andrew; Masters, Roy; Mascord, Steve; Lutton, Phil; Walter, Brad; Barrett, Chris; Pengilly, Adam; Proszenko, Adrian; Chammas, Michael, “State of Origin 2016: Who the experts are tipping in game two”, in The Sydney Morning Herald[1]:
      A Maroonwash will be two-thirds complete on a fast track at Suncorp.
    • 2017 December 28, “Myanmar's newsmakers of 2017”, in Frontier Myanmar[2]:
      So many were delighted when he was unceremoniously turfed from office in the 2015 redwash, with his USDP losing every single seat in the region.
    • 2018 July 11, Liebke, Dan, “The Liebke Ratings: State of Origin 3”, in The Roar[3]:
      To achieve a bluewash for the first time in a thousand years? Quite the incentive for Brad Fittler’s Baby Blues.

Derived termsEdit