Definition of cistern in English:


Line breaks: cis|tern
Pronunciation: /ˈsɪstən


  • 1A tank for storing water, especially one supplying taps or as part of a flushing toilet.
    More example sentences
    • It is a water-saving device you fit in your toilet cistern so that less water is used for flushing.
    • The Court of Appeal held that although the escape of water was a consequence of the maintenance of the cistern and water supply by the landlord, it was not a breach of the covenant for quiet enjoyment.
    • Everything they needed to survive was inside: stores of food, cisterns of water, and strategically-placed air holes.
    tank, reservoir, container; vat, butt
  • 1.1An underground reservoir for rainwater.
    More example sentences
    • Many had wells or cisterns for collecting rainwater.
    • The city's greatest find, though, lay hidden beneath the surface: four immense, underground water cisterns.
    • Rain flowing from the roof is collected in an underground cistern and reused.


Middle English: from Old French cisterne, from Latin cisterna, from cista 'box' (see cist).

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