- to search for underground supplies of water, metal, etc., by the use of a divining rod.
- to search for (as water) by or as if by dowsing.
Origin of dowse2
- to plunge into water or the like; drench: She doused the clothes in soapy water.
- to splash or throw water or other liquid on: The children doused each other with the hose.
- to extinguish: She quickly doused the candle's flame with her fingertips.
- Informal. to remove; doff.
- to lower or take in (a sail, mast, or the like) suddenly.
- to slacken (a line) suddenly.
- to stow quickly.
- to plunge or be plunged into a liquid.
- British Dialect. a stroke or blow.
Origin of douse
Examples from the Web for dowsing
It has been humorously conjectured, that from this ruthless devastator originated the phrase to give a Dowsing.Curiosities of Literature, Vol. 1 (of 3)
Another phase of psychic activity is that illustrated in "dowsing" or water-finding by means of the hazel fork.Second Sight
The entrance door is medival, probably removed from elsewhere to replace the doorway defaced by Dowsing.Cambridge and its Story
Charles William Stubbs
The divining, or "dowsing," rod of Dousterswivel still keeps its place in mining superstition and in the search for wells.The Antiquary, Complete
Sir Walter Scott
The neighbouring village of Stetchworth (or Stretchworth) also suffered in Dowsing's visitation.Highways and Byways in Cambridge and Ely
Rev. Edward Conybeare.
- a variant spelling of douse 1
- (intr) to search for underground water, minerals, etc, using a divining rod; divine
- to plunge or be plunged into water or some other liquid; duck
- (tr) to drench with water, esp in order to wash or clean
- (tr) to put out (a light, candle, etc)
- an immersion
- nautical to lower (sail) quickly
- archaic to strike or beat
- archaic a blow
Word Origin and History for dowsing
1550s, "to strike, punch," which is perhaps from Middle Dutch dossen "beat forcefully" or a similar Low German word.
Meaning "to strike a sail in haste" is recorded from 1620s; that of "to extinguish (a light)" is from 1785; perhaps influenced by dout (1520s), an obsolete contraction of do out (cf. doff, don). OED regards the meaning "to plunge into water, to throw water over" (c.1600) as a separate word, of unknown origin, though admitting there may be a connection of some sort. Related: Doused; dousing.
1690s, a south England dialect word, of uncertain origin, said to have been introduced to Devon by German miners in Elizabethan times. Related: Dowsed; dowsing.