[waw-ter-kres, wot-er-]


a cress, Nasturtium officinale, of the mustard family, usually growing in clear, running streams and having pungent leaves.
the leaves, used for salads, soups, and as a garnish.

Origin of watercress

1300–50; Middle English; cognate with Middle Dutch, Middle Low German waterkerse. See water, cress
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for watercress

Contemporary Examples of watercress

  • More foraging pressure is being placed on locations with good water quality, as in the case of watercress.

  • We also do a similar dish at Landmarc that I serve with watercress and lemon.

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  • It is also versatile as a soup base; add watercress and you have watercress soup, or stir in cream and chill it for a vichyssoise.

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Historical Examples of watercress

  • Watercress, which is commonly known as peppercress, usually grows wild in beds along the banks of springs or clear, cool streams.

    Woman's Institute Library of Cookery, Vol. 2

    Woman's Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences

  • Garnish with parsley and watercress and serve alone or with a currant jelly sauce.

    Standard Paper-Bag Cookery

    Emma Paddock Telford

  • Talking of watercress, this is a branch of farming which appears to be somewhat neglected on the banks of the Coln.

    A Cotswold Village

    J. Arthur Gibbs

  • Serve on toast, with matre d'htel sauce, quartered lemons and watercress.

  • The perch, although a large one, had all been eaten, and all the watercress had disappeared.

    Nobody's Girl

    Hector Malot

British Dictionary definitions for watercress



an Old World plant, Nasturtium officinale, of clear ponds and streams, having pungent leaves that are used in salads and as a garnish: family Brassicaceae (crucifers)
any of several similar or related plants
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 watercress

also water-cress, c.1400, from water (n.1) + cress. Cf. Middle Low German, Middle Dutch waterkerse, German wasserkresse. It grows in or near streams.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper