high-water mark

[ hahy-waw-ter, -wot-er ]
/ ˈhaɪˈwɔ tər, -ˈwɒt ər /


a mark showing the highest level reached by a body of water.
the highest point of anything; acme: Her speech was the high-water mark of the conference.



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Origin of high-water mark

First recorded in 1545–55
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for high-water mark

  • I have before me two books which will serve to indicate the high-water-mark of Wordsworth's popularity.

    Victorian Literature|Clement K. Shorter
  • The high-water-mark of poetry in Endymion is thus reached in the two lyrics of the first and fourth book.

    Keats|Sidney Colvin

British Dictionary definitions for high-water mark

high-water mark


  1. the level reached by sea water at high tide or by other stretches of water in flood
  2. the mark indicating this level
the highest point
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

Idioms and Phrases with high-water mark

high-water mark

The peak of something, especially an achievement. For example, This composition is the high-water mark of his entire output. This expression alludes to the highest mark left on shore by the tide. [Mid-1800s]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.