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[foun-tn] /ˈfaʊn tn/
a spring or source of water; the source or head of a stream.
the source or origin of anything.
a jet or stream of water (or other liquid) made by mechanical means to spout or rise from an opening or structure, as to afford water for use, to cool the air, or to serve for ornament.
a structure for discharging such a jet or a number of jets, often an elaborate or artistic work with basins, sculptures, etc.
a reservoir for a liquid to be supplied gradually or continuously, as in a fountain pen.
Heraldry. a roundel barry-wavy, argent and azure.
Origin of fountain
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English fontayne < Old French fontaine < Late Latin fontāna, noun use of feminine of Latin fontānus of a spring, equivalent to font- (stem of fons) spring + -ānus -an
Related forms
fountained, adjective
fountainless, adjective
fountainlike, adjective
unfountained, adjective
2. birthplace, cradle, genesis, wellspring. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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British Dictionary definitions for fountain


a jet or spray of water or some other liquid
a structure from which such a jet or a number of such jets spurt, often incorporating figures, basins, etc
a natural spring of water, esp the source of a stream
a stream, jet, or cascade of sparks, lava, etc
a principal source or origin
a reservoir or supply chamber, as for oil in a lamp
Derived Forms
fountained, adjective
fountainless, adjective
fountain-like, adjective
Word Origin
C15: from Old French fontaine, from Late Latin fontāna, from Latin fons spring, source
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
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Word Origin and History for fountain

early 15c., "spring of water that collects in a pool," from Old French fontaine "natural spring" (12c.), from Late Latin fontana "fountain, spring" (source of Spanish and Italian fontana), from noun use of fem. of Latin fontanus "of a spring," from fons (genitive fontis) "spring (of water);" cognate with Sanskrit dhanvati "flows, runs."

The extended sense of "artificial jet of water" (and the structures that make them) is first recorded c.1500. "A French fountain-pen is described in 1658 and Miss Burney used one in 1789" [Weekley].

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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fountain in the Bible

(Heb. 'ain; i.e., "eye" of the water desert), a natural source of living water. Palestine was a "land of brooks of water, of fountains, and depths that spring out of valleys and hills" (Deut. 8:7; 11:11). These fountains, bright sparkling "eyes" of the desert, are remarkable for their abundance and their beauty, especially on the west of Jordan. All the perennial rivers and streams of the country are supplied from fountains, and depend comparatively little on surface water. "Palestine is a country of mountains and hills, and it abounds in fountains of water. The murmur of these waters is heard in every dell, and the luxuriant foliage which surrounds them is seen in every plain." Besides its rain-water, its cisterns and fountains, Jerusalem had also an abundant supply of water in the magnificent reservoir called "Solomon's Pools" (q.v.), at the head of the Urtas valley, whence it was conveyed to the city by subterrean channels some 10 miles in length. These have all been long ago destroyed, so that no water from the "Pools" now reaches Jerusalem. Only one fountain has been discovered at Jerusalem, the so-called "Virgins's Fountains," in the valley of Kidron; and only one well (Heb. beer), the Bir Eyub, also in the valley of Kidron, south of the King's Gardens, which has been dug through the solid rock. The inhabitants of Jerusalem are now mainly dependent on the winter rains, which they store in cisterns. (See WELL.)

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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