[waw-ter-mahrk, wot-er-]
See more synonyms for watermark on Thesaurus.com
  1. a mark indicating the height to which water rises or has risen, as in a river or inlet.
  2. water line(def 5).
  3. a figure or design impressed in some paper during manufacture, visible when the paper is held to the light.
verb (used with object)
  1. to mark (paper) with a watermark.
  2. 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. 2018

Related Words for watermark

apex, apogee, acme, ceiling, peak, tidemark, watermark

Examples from the Web for watermark

Contemporary Examples of watermark

Historical Examples of watermark

  • A white silk handkerchief, with a watermark, was chosen instead.

    The Manxman

    Hall Caine

  • They held the envelope up to the light in order to discover a watermark.

    The Island Mystery

    George A. Birmingham

  • The paper is white wove and has no watermark, and the stamps were not perforated.


    Frederick John Melville

  • It was the doubt I entertained of the faithfulness of this watermark.

    The Boy Tar

    Mayne Reid

  • The detection of this watermark fraud is simple and infallible.

    The Detection of Forgery

    Douglas Blackburn

British Dictionary definitions for watermark


  1. a distinguishing mark impressed on paper during manufacture, visible when the paper is held up to the light
  2. another word for water line (def. 1), water line (def. 2)
verb (tr)
  1. 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