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[ney-ad, -uh d, nahy-] /ˈneɪ æd, -əd, ˈnaɪ-/
noun, plural naiads, naiades
[ney-uh-deez, nahy-] /ˈneɪ əˌdiz, ˈnaɪ-/ (Show IPA)
(sometimes initial capital letter) Classical Mythology. any of a class of nymphs presiding over rivers and springs.
the juvenile form of the dragonfly, damselfly, or mayfly.
a female swimmer, especially an expert one.
Botany. a plant of the genus Najas, having narrow leaves and solitary flowers.
Entomology. an aquatic nymph.
a freshwater mussel.
Origin of naiad
< Latin Nāïad- (stem of Nāïas) < Greek Nāïás a water nymph Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for naiad
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The naiad willow, arching lowland brooks, speaks as water, very secretly.

    Minstrel Weather Marian Storm
  • Why it is thus, one knows in heaven above: But, a poor naiad, I guess not.

    Endymion John Keats
  • She vanished like a naiad startled by the approach of a mortal.

    The Trembling of a Leaf William Somerset Maugham
  • Not so Aimée; her pencil had been busy all the while, but there was no naiad on her page.

    The Hour and the Man Harriet Martineau
  • The next morning our signal was made to pass within hail, and the captain of the naiad inquired how I was.

    Percival Keene Frederick Marryat
  • For a fortnight we cruised without seeing any vessel but the naiad.

    Percival Keene Frederick Marryat
  • Close beneath, a little fountain rose in slender diamond threads, and fell again with a soft trickling, like a naiad's sigh.

    Olive Dinah Maria Craik, (AKA Dinah Maria Mulock)
  • Bit of a lake; bathing-shed; the naiad's bower: pretty water to see.'

British Dictionary definitions for naiad


noun (pl) -ads, -ades (-əˌdiːz)
(Greek myth) a nymph dwelling in a lake, river, spring, or fountain
the aquatic larva of the dragonfly, mayfly, and related insects
Also called water nymph. any monocotyledonous submerged aquatic plant of the genus Naias (or Najas), having narrow leaves and small flowers: family Naiadaceae (or Najadaceae)
any of certain freshwater mussels of the genus Unio See mussel (sense 2)
Word Origin
C17: via Latin from Greek nāias water nymph; related to náein to flow
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 naiad

"water nymph," c.1600, from Latin Nais, Naias (genitive naiadis), from Greek Naias (plural Naiades) "river nymph," from naiein "to flow," from PIE *naw-yo-, suffixed form of root *(s)nau- "to swim, flow, let flow" (see nutriment). Dryden used the Latin singular form Nais, and the plural Naiades is attested in English from late 14c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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