The following sentences are about rinsing something under running water, be it a whisk (or any utensil for that matter) or a scald, wound/cut.

  1. Just run it under water.

  2. Just hold it under water.

  3. Just run water over it.

Do all of the above sentences sound equally likely?

  • 6
    I would say 'Hold it under running water' (under water suggests dipping it in still water). Commented Feb 8, 2020 at 13:22
  • 'Just run it under water.' and 'Just run water over it.' are perfectly fine aswell. Commented Feb 8, 2020 at 22:16
  • 1
    I wouldn't use the same expression for a scald and a whisk. For the latter I would use "rinse".
    – James K
    Commented Mar 8, 2020 at 20:37
  • 1
    As @KateBunting implies, hold it under water suggests immersion in a pot of water
    – djs
    Commented Sep 3, 2021 at 3:55
  • In Britain, we would practically always say 'put (or run) it under the tap'. Commented Apr 25 at 11:25

3 Answers 3

  • hold it in/under running water

The water from the faucet (BrEng tap) must be flowing (running), in other words the cold faucet must be turned open so the water gets cooler as it streams out. However, if you soak scalded skin IN water, the water will stop feeling cool and refreshing after a short time.


There's a subtle difference between 1 and 3, which mean the same thing, and 2.

"Run it under water" and "run water over it" imply you're holding the item under a faucet. "Hold it under water" could mean exactly the same thing, but as a standalone sentence, it sounds more like you're immersing the item in a tub/bowl/sink, not holding it under running water.

I'd prefer 1 or 3, but 2 is fine if the context is made clear.


"Hold it under water" would probably be understood as "hold it underwater", meaning immerse it in a sink or bath or lake or river.

"Hold it under some water" would probably be taken to mean the same as the other two (ie run it under a tap/faucet of running water)

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