View synonyms for water


[ waw-ter, wot-er ]


    1. a transparent, odorless, tasteless liquid, a compound of hydrogen and oxygen, H 2 O, freezing at 32°F or 0°C and boiling at 212°F or 100°C, that in a more or less impure state constitutes rain, oceans, lakes, rivers, etc.: it contains 11.188 percent hydrogen and 88.812 percent oxygen, by weight.
    2. a special form or variety of this liquid, such as rain.
  1. the liquid content of a river, inlet, etc., with reference to its relative height, especially as dependent on tide:

    There is a difference of 20 feet between high and low water.

  2. the surface of a stream, river, lake, ocean, etc.:

    above, below, or on the water.

  3. waters,
    1. flowing water, or water moving in waves:

      The wreckage of the dock was carried away on the river's mighty waters.

    2. the sea or seas bordering a particular country or continent or located in a particular part of the world:

      We left San Diego and sailed south for Mexican waters.

  4. a liquid solution or preparation, especially one used for cosmetic purposes:

    lavender water;

    lemon water.

  5. Often waters. Medicine/Medical.
    1. amniotic fluid.
    2. the bag of waters; amnion:

      Her water broke at 2 a.m.

  6. any of various solutions of volatile or gaseous substances in water:

    ammonia water.

  7. any liquid organic secretion that is mostly water, such as tears, perspiration, or urine:

    At the sad news, her chin trembled, and water sprang to her eyes.

  8. Often waters. water in an impure state as obtained from a mineral spring:

    Last year we went to Marienbad for the waters.

  9. Finance. fictitious assets or the inflated values they give to the stock of a corporation.
  10. a wavy, lustrous pattern or marking, as on silk fabrics or metal surfaces.
  11. (formerly) the degree of transparency and brilliancy of a diamond or other precious stone:

    They were diamonds of the first water.

verb (used with object)

  1. to sprinkle, moisten, or drench with water:

    She watered the flowers with the hose.

    The fields were well watered by a heavy rain.

  2. to supply (animals) with water for drinking:

    He filled the trough to water the horses.

  3. to furnish with a supply of water, as a ship.
  4. to furnish water to (a region), as by streams, or to supply (land) with water, as by irrigation:

    The valley is watered by a branch of the Colorado River.

    Our land is watered by the All-American Canal.

  5. to dilute, weaken, soften, or adulterate with, or as with, water (often followed by down ):

    We had to water the soup to make it go around.

    Don’t water down the report, even if it’s unfavorable.

  6. Finance. to issue or increase the par value of (shares of stock) without having the assets to warrant doing so (often followed by down ).

verb (used without object)

  1. to fill with or secrete water or liquid, as the eyes do when irritated, or as the mouth does at the sight or thought of tempting food:

    The smoke from the bonfire made his eyes water.

    My mouth watered when I smelled the turkey roasting.

  2. (of an animal) to drink water:

    The deer came down to water at the lake at dawn.

  3. to take in a supply of water, as a ship:

    Our ship will water at Savannah.


  1. of or relating to water in any way:

    a water journey.

  2. holding, or designed to hold, water:

    a water jug.

  3. worked or powered by water:

    a water turbine.

  4. heating, pumping, or circulating water (often used in combination):

    hot-water furnace;

    city waterworks.

  5. used in or on water:

    water skis.

  6. containing or prepared with water, as for hardening or dilution:

    water mortar.

  7. located or occurring on, in, or by water:

    water music;

    water frontage.

  8. residing by or in, or ruling over, water:

    water people;

    water deities.


/ ˈwɔːtə /


  1. a clear colourless tasteless odourless liquid that is essential for plant and animal life and constitutes, in impure form, rain, oceans, rivers, lakes, etc. It is a neutral substance, an effective solvent for many compounds, and is used as a standard for many physical properties. Formula: H 2 O aqueous hydro-aqua-
    1. any body or area of this liquid, such as a sea, lake, river, etc
    2. ( as modifier ) aquatic

      water transport

      water sports

      a water plant

  2. the surface of such a body or area

    fish swam below the water

  3. any form or variety of this liquid, such as rain
  4. any of various solutions of chemical substances in water

    lithia water

    ammonia water

  5. physiol
    1. any fluid secreted from the body, such as sweat, urine, or tears
    2. usually plural the amniotic fluid surrounding a fetus in the womb
  6. a wavy lustrous finish on some fabrics, esp silk
  7. archaic.
    the degree of brilliance in a diamond See also first water
  8. excellence, quality, or degree (in the phrase of the first water )
  9. finance
    1. capital stock issued without a corresponding increase in paid-up capital, so that the book value of the company's capital is not fully represented by assets or earning power
    2. the fictitious or unrealistic asset entries that reflect such inflated book value of capital
  10. modifier astrology of or relating to the three signs of the zodiac Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces Compare air earth fire
  11. above the water informal.
    out of trouble or difficulty, esp financial trouble
  12. hold water
    to prove credible, logical, or consistent

    the alibi did not hold water

  13. in deep water
    in trouble or difficulty
  14. make water
    1. to urinate
    2. (of a boat, hull, etc) to let in water
  15. pass water
    to urinate
  16. test the water
    See test 1
  17. throw cold water on or pour cold water on informal.
    to be unenthusiastic about or discourage
  18. water under the bridge
    events that are past and done with
“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


  1. tr to sprinkle, moisten, or soak with water
  2. troften foll bydown to weaken by the addition of water
  3. intr (of the eyes) to fill with tears
  4. intr (of the mouth) to salivate, esp in anticipation of food (esp in the phrase make one's mouth water )
  5. tr to irrigate or provide with water

    to water the land

    he watered the cattle

  6. intr to drink water
  7. intr (of a ship, etc) to take in a supply of water
  8. tr finance to raise the par value of (issued capital stock) without a corresponding increase in the real value of assets
  9. tr to produce a wavy lustrous finish on (fabrics, esp silk)
“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


/ tər /

  1. A colorless, odorless compound of hydrogen and oxygen. Water covers about three-quarters of the Earth's surface in solid form (ice) and liquid form, and is prevalent in the lower atmosphere in its gaseous form, water vapor. Water is an unusually good solvent for a large variety of substances, and is an essential component of all organisms, being necessary for most biological processes. Unlike most substances, water is less dense as ice than in liquid form; thus, ice floats on liquid water. Water freezes at 0°C (32°F) and boils at 100°C (212°F). Chemical formula: H 2 O.

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Derived Forms

  • ˈwaterer, noun
  • ˈwaterish, adjective
  • ˈwater-ˌlike, adjective
  • ˈwaterless, adjective
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Other Words From

  • wa·ter·er noun
  • wa·ter·less adjective
  • wa·ter·less·ly adverb
  • wa·ter·less·ness noun
  • wa·ter·like adjective
  • out·wa·ter verb (used with object)
  • o·ver·wa·ter verb
  • re·wa·ter verb
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Word History and Origins

Origin of water1

First recorded before 900; (for the noun) Middle English wæter, water, watre, Old English uæt(t)er, wæter; cognate with Dutch water, German Wasser, Old Norse vatn, vatr Gothic wato; akin to Hittite watar, Greek hýdōr, Irish uisce, Russian vodá; (for the verb) Middle English watere(n), Old English wæterian, wetrian “to give water to, irrigate, moisten,” derivative of the noun
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Word History and Origins

Origin of water1

Old English wæter, of Germanic origin; compare Old Saxon watar, Old High German wazzar, Gothic watō, Old Slavonic voda; related to Greek hudor
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Idioms and Phrases

  1. above water, free from embarrassment or trouble, especially of a financial nature:

    They had so many medical bills that they could hardly keep their heads above water.

  2. break water,
    1. to break the surface of the water by emerging from it.
    2. Swimming. to break the surface of the water with the feet, especially in swimming the breaststroke doing the frog kick.
    3. Medicine/Medical. to break the amniotic sac prior to parturition.
  3. by water, by ship or boat:

    to send goods by water.

  4. hold water,
    1. to be logical, defensible, or valid:

      That accusation won't hold water.

    2. to check the movement of a rowboat by keeping the oars steady with the blades vertical.
  5. in deep water, in great distress or difficulty:

    Their marriage has been in deep water for some time.

  6. in hot water, Informal. in trouble; in a predicament:

    Unflattering comments about his rivals have landed the comedian in hot water.

  7. like water, lavishly; abundantly; freely:

    The champagne flowed like water.

  8. make one's mouth water, to excite a desire or appetite for something:

    The roasting turkey made our mouths water.

  9. make water,
    1. (of a boat) to allow water to enter; leak.
    2. to urinate.
  10. take (on) water, (of a boat) to allow water to enter through leaks or portholes or over the side:

    Our dinghy took water over the bow from time to time, as the lake was very rough.

    A distress call was received from a boat that was taking on water.

  11. water under the bridge, something that is past and cannot be changed, and is therefore not worth brooding or worrying about:

    The whole experience left a bad taste in my mouth, but it’s all water under the bridge now and life has moved on.

  12. dead in the water. dead ( def 41 ).
  13. tread water. tread ( def 24 ).

More idioms and phrases containing water

  • above water
  • backwater
  • blood is thicker than water
  • blow out (of the water)
  • come on in (the water's fine)
  • dead in the water
  • fish in troubled waters
  • fish out of water
  • head above water
  • hell or high water
  • high-water mark
  • hold water
  • hot water
  • in deep (water)
  • keep one's head (above water)
  • like water off a duck's back
  • make one's mouth water
  • muddy the waters
  • of the first water
  • pour cold water on
  • pour oil on troubled waters
  • still waters run deep
  • take to (like a duck to water)
  • throw out the baby with the bath water
  • tread water
  • you can lead a horse to water
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Example Sentences

The soil is also very dry, which counterintuitively makes it harder for water to infiltrate.

What’s more, the wetlands would prevent some of that water from moving inland, so flood levels around those homes would rise higher.

The EPA’s loan will cover almost half the project costs, said Lindsay Leahy, Oceanside’s principal water engineer.

As water freezes at 0 °C, I need a way to chill water to cooler than that.

The Memphis Sands Aquifer, a crucial water supply for Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas and Louisiana, is already overdrawn by hundreds of millions of gallons a day.

Fluoride first entered an American water supply through a rather inelegant technocratic scheme.

When cities started adding chlorine to their water supplies, in the early 1900s, it set off public outcry.

Before anti-vaxxers, there were anti-fluoriders: a group who spread fear about the anti-tooth decay agent added to drinking water.

Placed in drinking water, fluoride can serve people who otherwise have poor access to dental care.

In secret, before the referendum, the council went ahead and fluoridated the water anyway.

Urbanity ushers in water that needs no apology, and gives a zest to the worst vintage.

The two women had no intention of bathing; they had just strolled down to the beach for a walk and to be alone and near the water.

Mrs. Woodbury paints in oils and water-colors; the latter are genre scenes, and among them are several Dutch subjects.

But there was a breeze blowing, a choppy, stiff wind that whipped the water into froth.

She threw out her arms as if swimming when she walked, beating the tall grass as one strikes out in the water.


Related Words

Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

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