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[waw-ter-mahrk, wot-er-] /ˈwɔ tərˌmɑrk, ˈwɒt ər-/
a mark indicating the height to which water rises or has risen, as in a river or inlet.
water line (def 5).
a figure or design impressed in some paper during manufacture, visible when the paper is held to the light.
verb (used with object)
to mark (paper) with a watermark.
to impress (a design, pattern, etc.), as a watermark.
Origin of watermark
First recorded in 1625-35; water + mark1
Related forms
unwatermarked, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for watermark
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A white silk handkerchief, with a watermark, was chosen instead.

    The Manxman Hall Caine
  • They held the envelope up to the light in order to discover a watermark.

    The Island Mystery George A. Birmingham
  • The paper is white wove and has no watermark, and the stamps were not perforated.

    Gambia Frederick John Melville
  • It was the doubt I entertained of the faithfulness of this watermark.

    The Boy Tar Mayne Reid
  • The detection of this watermark fraud is simple and infallible.

    The Detection of Forgery Douglas Blackburn
  • There are a trio of furies, only male instead of female; the watermark of the paper is 1794.

    William Blake Irene Langridge
  • As to the position of the watermark in the sheets, I believe it to be central.

  • This has for its watermark a Perch with a spray in its mouth.

British Dictionary definitions for watermark


a distinguishing mark impressed on paper during manufacture, visible when the paper is held up to the light
another word for water line (sense 1), water line (sense 2)
verb (transitive)
to mark (paper) with a watermark
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 watermark

1708, "distinctive mark on paper," from water (n.1) + mark (n.1). Cf. German wassermarke. Not produced by water, but probably so called because it looks like a wet spot. The verb is recorded from 1866.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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