See more synonyms for cistern on
  1. a reservoir, tank, or container for storing or holding water or other liquid.
  2. Anatomy. a reservoir or receptacle of some natural fluid of the body.

Origin of cistern

1250–1300; Middle English cistern(e) < Latin cisterna, equivalent to cist(a) (see cist1) + -erna noun suffix Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for cistern

pond, well, tank, cisterna

Examples from the Web for cistern

Historical Examples of cistern

British Dictionary definitions for cistern


  1. a tank for the storage of water, esp on or within the roof of a house or connected to a WC
  2. an underground reservoir for the storage of a liquid, esp rainwater
  3. anatomy another name for cisterna
Derived Formscisternal (sɪˈstɜːnəl), adjective

Word Origin for cistern

C13: from Old French cisterne, from Latin cisterna underground tank, from cista box
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

Word Origin and History for cistern

mid-13c., from Old French cisterne "cistern; dungeon, underground prison" (12c., Modern French citerne), from Latin cisterna "underground reservoir for water," from cista "chest, box," from Greek kiste "box, chest" (see chest).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

cistern in Medicine


  1. A cisterna.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.