[ney-ad, -uh d, nahy-]

noun, plural nai·ads, nai·a·des [ney-uh-deez, nahy-] /ˈneɪ əˌdiz, ˈnaɪ-/.

(sometimes initial capital letter) Classical Mythology. any of a class of nymphs presiding over rivers and springs.
the juvenile form of the dragonfly, damselfly, or mayfly.
a female swimmer, especially an expert one.
Botany. a plant of the genus Najas, having narrow leaves and solitary flowers.
Entomology. an aquatic nymph.
a freshwater mussel.

Origin of naiad

< Latin Nāïad- (stem of Nāïas) < Greek Nāïás a water nymph Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for naiad

Contemporary Examples of naiad

Historical Examples of naiad

  • Why it is thus, one knows in heaven above: But, a poor Naiad, I guess not.


    John Keats

  • "She looks like a fabled Naiad just risen from the deep," was my criticism on her.

    Mizora: A Prophecy

    Mary E. Bradley

  • Not so Aimée; her pencil had been busy all the while, but there was no Naiad on her page.

    The Hour and the Man

    Harriet Martineau

  • She vanished like a naiad startled by the approach of a mortal.

    The Trembling of a Leaf

    William Somerset Maugham

  • That is as much to say, then, that the story of my Naiad has displeased the king?

    Ten Years Later

    Alexandre Dumas, Pere

British Dictionary definitions for naiad


noun plural -ads or -ades (-əˌdiːz)

Greek myth a nymph dwelling in a lake, river, spring, or fountain
the aquatic larva of the dragonfly, mayfly, and related insects
Also called: water nymph any monocotyledonous submerged aquatic plant of the genus Naias (or Najas), having narrow leaves and small flowers: family Naiadaceae (or Najadaceae)
any of certain freshwater mussels of the genus UnioSee mussel (def. 2)

Word Origin for naiad

C17: via Latin from Greek nāias water nymph; related to náein to flow
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 naiad

"water nymph," c.1600, from Latin Nais, Naias (genitive naiadis), from Greek Naias (plural Naiades) "river nymph," from naiein "to flow," from PIE *naw-yo-, suffixed form of root *(s)nau- "to swim, flow, let flow" (see nutriment). Dryden used the Latin singular form Nais, and the plural Naiades is attested in English from late 14c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper