Definition of water in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈwôdər/
Pronunciation: /ˈwädər/


1A colorless, transparent, odorless, tasteless liquid that forms the seas, lakes, rivers, and rain and is the basis of the fluids of living organisms.
Example sentences
  • They are dissolved in warm water and the liquid is taken as a drink between meals.
  • Brine is a solution of sodium chloride and water that may or may not contain other salts.
  • Its normally the ions that react with other chemicals when dissolved in water.
dated Adam's ale
1.1Water as supplied to houses or commercial establishments through pipes and taps: each bedroom has a washbasin with hot and cold water [as modifier]: water pipes
More example sentences
  • No house had its own water supply so a regular visit had to be made to the nearest pump for the daily supply.
  • Do we really need to associate with the brand that pipes water into our house?
  • One was an empty old pipe he was replacing, one was full of cold water supplying the home.
1.2One of the four elements in ancient and medieval philosophy and in astrology (considered essential to the nature of the signs Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces): [as modifier]: a water sign
More example sentences
  • Like all water signs, Scorpio finds a natural habitat in the world of feelings and instincts.
  • He did, however, take note of the sign that Jupiter is in: Scorpio, a water sign.
  • In the water signs of Scorpio and Pisces we see a different expression of this energy.
1.3 (usually the waters) The water of a mineral spring, typically as used medicinally for bathing in or drinking: resorts where southerners came to take the waters
More example sentences
  • On the strength of such claims the site was developed as a medicinal spa and huge crowds flocked to take the waters.
  • ‘Throughout the nineteenth century, American high society flocked here to take the waters,’ he relates.
  • The alleged curative powers of springs precipitated the establishment of spas where wealthy visitors came to take the waters and which may be considered the forerunners of modern health farms.
1.4 [with modifier] A solution of a specified substance in water: ammonia water
More example sentences
  • The maid massaged the oil into her scalp and washed it with the flower water in the bath.
  • Beat the cream cheese and butter together and then beat in the flower water and sugar.
  • Poach the syrup gently for about ten minutes, until it begins to thicken a little, then stir in the orange blossom water.
1.5Urine: drinking alcohol will make you need to pass water more often
1.6 (waters) The amniotic fluid surrounding a fetus in the womb, especially as discharged in a flow shortly before birth: I think my waters have broken
More example sentences
  • Swimming may be a symbol of birth, expressing a wish to return to the peace and safety of the waters of the womb.
  • The epidural did not work and fell out and my waters were broken without my consent.

Water is a compound of oxygen and hydrogen (chemical formula: H2O) with highly distinctive physical and chemical properties: it is able to dissolve many other substances; its solid form (ice) is less dense than the liquid form; its boiling point, viscosity, and surface tension are unusually high for its molecular weight, and it is partially dissociated into hydrogen and hydroxyl ions.

2 (the water) A stretch or area of water, such as a river, sea, or lake: the lawns ran down to the water’s edge
More example sentences
  • I want a strong man to walk beside me at the water's edge as the sun sets into the ocean.
  • A giant marquee was erected next to the lake and a dance floor constructed at the water's edge.
  • Now let me have you imagine that you are at a lake or a pond standing at the edge of the water.
sea, ocean;
lake, river;
2.1The surface of an area of water: she ducked under the water
More example sentences
  • Players were ducked under the water and roughly tackled by the opposing side.
  • For two miles the water stretched north, a flat sheet of grey in the morning sun.
2.2 [as modifier] Found in, on, or near areas of water: a water plant
2.3 (waters) The water of a particular sea, river, or lake: the waters of Hudson Bay figurative the government is taking us into unknown waters with these changes in the legislation
More example sentences
  • The waters of Dongting Lake and the Xiangjiang River, which flows through the provincial capital of Changsha, are near all-time highs.
  • He floated on the surface of the lake; its waters were far denser than normal water.
  • In the opera's famous opening scene, deep in the waters of the Rhine river, Wagner unfolds an immense, rolling E-flat major chord.
2.4 (waters) An area of sea regarded as under the jurisdiction of a particular country: Japanese coastal waters
More example sentences
  • The sanctuary is believed to be the largest yet declared by an individual government in waters under its jurisdiction.
  • He added that the mine could also have been washed out to sea from recent Royal Navy manoeuvres in Scottish coastal waters.
  • But it was a huge shock to New Zealanders to see an act of terrorism take place within our coastal waters, and in our terrestrial areas, as well.
3The quality of transparency and brilliance shown by a diamond or other gem.
4 Finance Capital stock that represents a book value greater than the true assets of a company.


1 [with object] Pour or sprinkle water over (a plant or an area of ground), typically in order to encourage plant growth: I went out to water the geraniums
More example sentences
  • I arrived back to my house and saw my grandpa was watering the flowers outside.
  • It was also used for watering the flowers in the churchyard, and for drinking water.
  • Alison was watering the potted herbs that grew behind the house.
sprinkle, moisten, dampen, wet, spray, splash;
soak, douse, souse, drench, saturate;
hose (down)
1.1Give a drink of water to (an animal): they stopped to water the horses and to refresh themselves
More example sentences
  • She rode onward, stopping only to water her horse or to walk him every now and than.
  • But up to 1962, they were grazing and watering cattle there, pending their slaughter.
  • I fed the chickens, and watered the goats; I even found time to fluff the cats.
1.2 [no object] (Of an animal) drink water.
1.3 (usually be watered) (Of a river) flow through (an area of land): the valley is watered by the Pines River
More example sentences
  • For centuries people believed the Garden of Eden was a sunny parkland watered by rivers meandering gently beneath a blue sky.
  • The telltale marks recall a lost world from 175 million years ago when neither cliffs nor sea were there and the area was a near-tropical coastal plain watered by rivers from the Pennines.
  • Ladakh is watered by the River Indus on its way down to the Punjab, and many a grain of sand in the Indian Ocean may well have once formed part of a stone in the land behind the Himalayas.
1.4Take a fresh supply of water on board (a ship or steam train): the ship was watered and fresh livestock taken aboard
More example sentences
  • During her response to the welcome home, Captain Parry said she watered Windeward Bound at some of the same spots used by Flinders and found the water still pristine.
  • Each time it merely turned an engine around or coaled and watered it, such as when a yard engine came in for a crew change, the roundhouse was credited with a half-dispatch.
  • Once they had cleared the platform, James got off and watered our coaches.
1.5 Finance Increase (a company’s debt, or nominal capital) by the issue of new shares without a corresponding addition to assets.
2 [no object] (Of the eyes) become full of moisture or tears: Rory blinked, his eyes watering
More example sentences
  • Her eyes watered up and the tears made their way down her cheek.
  • Suddenly her eyes watered and tears fell from her eyes.
  • Rachel's eyes watered, and tears started flowing down her cheeks.
2.1(Of the mouth) produce saliva, typically in response to the sight or smell of appetizing food: the smell of frying bacon made Hilary’s mouth water
More example sentences
  • Her mouth watered just from the sight of the food.
  • Geneva's mouth watered at the pleasant smell of the food.
  • My mouth watered at the sight and smell but I forced myself to keep my head up and stand strong.
moisten, become wet, salivate
informal drool
3 [with object] Dilute or adulterate (a drink, typically an alcoholic one) with water: staff at the club had been watering down the drinks
More example sentences
  • As a malt lover, I am in the camp that says watering down the whisky is precisely what you want to do, since this reveals its subtle intricacies.
  • It's like drinking club soda that has been watered down and mixed with flat light beer.
  • And watering down the whiskey isn't the best way to keep your customers loyal.
dilute, thin (out), weaken;
adulterate, doctor, mix
informal cut
3.1 (water something down) Make a statement or proposal less forceful or controversial by changing or leaving out certain details: the army’s report of its investigation was considerably watered down
More example sentences
  • The man who led the investigation believes the proposals have been watered down so that the staining will not affect the appearance of dog and cat food.
  • Such has been the opposition to Clarke's proposals that he has watered them down somewhat.
  • Similarly, on the proposed adoption of the services directive to create a single and free market for services within the union, the proposals were watered down to the point where the liberalisation is meaningless in all but name.
moderate, temper, mitigate, tone down, soften, tame;
understate, play down, soft-pedal



by water

Using a ship or boat for travel or transport: at the end of the lake was a small gazebo, accessible only by water
More example sentences
  • Just after the attacks, the debris was brought by road; now, to cope with the volume, it is shipped by water.
  • The crews travelled down to Gravesend by water on the Saturday in order to take part.
  • Until very recently, travel by water was the most efficient way to move around.

cast one's bread upon the waters

see bread.

like water

In great quantities: George was spending money like water
More example sentences
  • However, many people, especially the wealthy classes, spend money like water.
  • Still, it seeps in like water and before you know it you are drowning.
  • The real show takes place in the Festhallen, wherein the beer runs like water and tastes like the nectar of the gods.

make water

Example sentences
  • A woman enters the bathroom with the desire/need to make water or to poop.
  • With all of his patrons' content, Barridan tromped his way toward the door, thinking now would be a good time to make water before the crowd managed to gulp down their refreshed mugs of ale.
2(Of a ship or boat) take in water through a leak.

of the first water

(Of a diamond or pearl) of the greatest brilliance and transparency.
5.1(Typically of someone or something perceived as undesirable or annoying) extreme or unsurpassed of their kind: she was a bore of the first water
More example sentences
  • According to her description the losing candidate was a ‘lush,’ a falling down soaking drunk of the first water.
  • I will just say, however, that anyone who gets a tattoo from another culture with that much resonance in that culture without every having met someone from that culture is a schmuck of the first water.
  • This is a magickal artifact of the first water, so well known that it was credited as the device through which Dee divined the Gunpowder Plot of 1605.

under water

Submerged; flooded.
Example sentences
  • The lounge bar is under water and so are the two ground floor bedrooms.
  • He said the flood plain encroached on to the land, which was near Selby Dam, and was currently under water.
  • He still has 60 acres of winter corn under water, a lot of which will drown out and have to be re-sown.

the water of life

Example sentences
  • Or is this a clumsy attempt at a makeover for the water of life, something based on the London vodka restaurants that once revolutionised the perception of Russia's finest?
  • And if you stand at the pier at Lagavulin, you will overlook the bay from which a thousand Islay men embarked to help Robert the Bruce give the English a good gubbing at Bannockburn - and who were no doubt well fortified with the water of life.
  • ‘I have drunk of the water of life since my youth,’ the barbarian muttered, then drank of the cup.

water off a duck's back

see duck1.

water on the brain

informal Hydrocephalus.
Example sentences
  • Their conditions ranged from IQ's as low as 55, to water on the brain at birth, brain damage, and lobotomy.
  • He had been born with water on the brain and suffered other brain damage from a severe fall when he was young.
  • Suffering from prostate cancer, Parkinson's and water on the brain, the preacher will speak from an ingenious pulpit designed to allow him to evangelise in a sitting position.

water under the bridge (or water over the dam)

Used to refer to events or situations that are in the past and consequently no longer to be regarded as important or as a source of concern.
Example sentences
  • Past fiscal decisions are water over the dam, given the national government's priority for addressing recession in a timely manner.
  • While what's past is past and there's no use crying about water under the bridge, it does appear that this decision may have been a mistake on my part.
  • And when you get together with him is it water under the bridge or do you still continue to talk about the things that you guys have been through and how have you fixed that relationship?



Pronunciation: /ˈwôdərər/
Example sentences
  • All pens contained fence-line feeders and individual waterers.
  • Most importantly, it kept the heated, automatic waterers for the 75 sheep in the barn from freezing.
  • If you have two acres divided into four paddocks, you can place one waterer in the middle of the pasture where all four paddocks converge.


Pronunciation: /ˈwôdərləs/
Example sentences
  • The wanderer is like a dehydrated traveller in a waterless desert, or a lover longing to see the distant beloved.
  • Late afternoon found the two making their way slowly across the sun-baked earth, moving across shadeless, parching desert, two specks in a vast waste of waterless ground.
  • Of course the Mongols, their flocks, and their neighbors didn't actually live in the waterless Gobi Desert, but further north in grassy steppes, rising toward forested hill country.


Old English wæter (noun), wæterian (verb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch water, German Wasser, from an Indo-European root shared by Russian voda (compare with vodka), also by Latin unda 'wave' and Greek hudōr 'water'.

  • The people living around the Black Sea more than 5 000 years ago had a word for water. We do not know exactly what it was, but it was probably the source for the words used for ‘water’ in many European languages, past and present. In Old English it was wæter. The Greek was hudōr, the source of words like hydraulic (mid 17th century) and hydrotherapy (late 19th century). The same root led to the formation of Latin unda ‘wave’, as in inundate (late 18th century), abound (Middle English) (from Latin abundare ‘overflow’), and undulate (mid 17th century), Russian voda (the source of vodka), German Wasser, and the English words wet (Old English) and otter (Old English). Of the first water means ‘unsurpassed’. The three highest grades into which diamonds or pearls could be classified used to be called waters, but only first water, the top one, is found today, describing a completely flawless gem. An equivalent term is found in many European languages, and all are thought to come from the Arabic word for water, , which also meant ‘shine or splendour’, presumably from the appearance of very pure water. People and things other than gems began to be described as of the first water in the 1820s. Nowadays the phrase is rarely used as a compliment: in a letter written in 1950, P.G. Wodehouse commented disparagingly on J. M. Barrie's play The Admirable Crichton: ‘I remember being entranced with it in 1904 or whenever it was, but now it seems like a turkey of the first water.’ If you study a duck shaking its wings after diving for food you will see the point of water off a duck's back, used since the 1820s of a potentially hurtful remark that has no apparent effect. The water forms into beads and simply slides off the bird's waterproof feathers, leaving the duck dry. Water under the bridge refers to events that are in the past and should no longer to be regarded as important. Similar phrases are recorded since the beginning of the 20th century. A North American variant is water over the dam. The first uses of waterlogged, in the late 18th century, referred to ships that were so flooded with water that they became heavy and unmanageable, and no better than a log floating in the sea. A watershed, a ridge of land that separates waters flowing to different rivers or seas, has nothing to do with garden sheds but means ‘ridge of high ground’ and is connected with shed (Old English) meaning ‘discard’.

Words that rhyme with water

aorta, daughter, exhorter, exporter, extorter, Horta, importer, mortar, porter, quarter, slaughter, snorter, sorter, sporter, supporter, three-quarter, torte, transporter, underwater

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: wa·ter

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