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[waw-ter-spout, wot-er-] /ˈwɔ tərˌspaʊt, ˈwɒt ər-/
Also called rainspout. a pipe running down the side of a house or other building to carry away water from the gutter of the roof.
a spout, duct, or the like, from which water is discharged.
a funnel-shaped or tubular portion of a cloud over the ocean or other body of water that, laden with mist and spray, resembles a solid column of water reaching upward to the cloud from which it hangs.
Compare tornado (def 1).
Origin of waterspout
1350-1400; 1730-40 for def 3; Middle English; see water, spout Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for waterspout
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • This demon was a waterspout, and waterspouts in China are attributed to the battles of dragons.


    Benjamin Taylor
  • They say to hit the waterspout in the centre where it joins the other from below will disperse it.

    Standish of Standish

    Jane G. Austin
  • Look, if there are not a number of dead fish which the waterspout must have sucked up.

    Picked up at Sea J.C. Hutcheson
  • As for the night, instead of a drizzle he would have welcomed a waterspout.

    The Rough Road

    William John Locke
  • The ship was lowered about a hundred feet away from the waterspout.

  • The seas were engulfing the ship so that the officers could not see the waterspout at all.

  • The waterspout was going to hit us, quartering on the starboard bow.

British Dictionary definitions for waterspout


  1. a tornado occurring over water that forms a column of water and mist extending between the surface and the clouds above
  2. a sudden downpour of heavy rain
a pipe or channel through which water is discharged, esp one used for drainage from the gutters of a roof
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 waterspout

late 14c., "drainpipe," from water (n.1) + spout (n.). Meaning "whirlwind on open water" is recorded from 1738.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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