[ waw-ter-mahrk, wot-er- ]
/ ˈwɔ tərˌmɑrk, ˈwɒt ər- /


a mark indicating the height to which water rises or has risen, as in a river or inlet.
a figure or design impressed in some paper during manufacture, visible when the paper is held to the light.

verb (used with object)

to mark (paper) with a watermark.
to impress (a design, pattern, etc.), as a watermark.


Origin of watermark

First recorded in 1625–35; water + mark1
Related formsun·wa·ter·marked, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for watermark

British Dictionary definitions for watermark


/ (ˈwɔːtəˌmɑːk) /


a distinguishing mark impressed on paper during manufacture, visible when the paper is held up to the light

verb (tr)

to mark (paper) with a watermark
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 watermark



1708, "distinctive mark on paper," from water (n.1) + mark (n.1). Cf. German wassermarke. Not produced by water, but probably so called because it looks like a wet spot. The verb is recorded from 1866.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper