- 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.
Origin of high-water mark
First recorded in 1545–55
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for high-water mark
Historical Examples of high-water mark
- the level reached by sea water at high tide or by other stretches of water in flood
- 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
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.