Try Our Apps


90s Slang You Should Know


[ses-pool] /ˈsɛsˌpul/
a cistern, well, or pit for retaining the sediment of a drain or for receiving the sewage from a house.
any filthy receptacle or place.
any place of moral filth or immorality:
a cesspool of iniquity.
Origin of cesspool
1575-85; cess (< Italian cesso privy < Latin rēcessus recess, place of retirement) + pool1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for cesspool
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • At the lower end of the trough have a waste pipe which runs into a cesspool.

    Campward Ho! Unknown
  • Scattering flowers upon a cesspool of iniquity will not purify it.

    Gipsy Life George Smith
  • That cesspool of all infamies, the New York Herald, became the mouthpiece of all the like hypocrites.

  • I should be the first to be ready to clean out any cesspool you like.

    Crime and Punishment Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • The cesspool no longer retains anything of its primitive ferocity.

    Les Misrables Victor Hugo
British Dictionary definitions for cesspool


Also called sink, sump. a covered cistern, etc, for collecting and storing sewage or waste water
a filthy or corrupt place: a cesspool of iniquity
Word Origin
C17: changed (through influence of pool1) from earlier cesperalle, from Old French souspirail vent, air, from soupirer to sigh; see suspire
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for cesspool

also cess-pool, 1670s, the first element perhaps an alteration of cistern, perhaps a shortened form of recess [Klein]; or the whole may be an alteration of suspiral (c.1400), "drainpipe," from Old French sospiral "a vent, air hole," from sospirer "breathe," from Latin suspirare "breathe deep" [Barnhart]. Meaning extended to "tank at the end of the pipe," which would account for a possible folk-etymology change in final syllable.

Other possible etymologies: Italian cesso "privy," from Latin secessus "place of retirement" (in Late Latin "privy, drain"); dialectal suspool, from suss, soss "puddle;" or cess "a bog on the banks of a tidal river."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for cesspool

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for cesspool

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for cesspool