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


Also called rainspout. a pipe running down the side of a house or other building to carry away water from the gutter of the roof.
a spout, duct, or the like, from which water is discharged.
a funnel-shaped or tubular portion of a cloud over the ocean or other body of water that, laden with mist and spray, resembles a solid column of water reaching upward to the cloud from which it hangs.Compare tornado(def 1).

Origin of waterspout

1350–1400; 1730–40 for def 3; Middle English; see water, spout
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for waterspout

whirlwind, whirlpool, spiral, eddy, whirl, gyre, tornado, cyclone, twister, tourbillion

Examples from the Web for waterspout

Contemporary Examples of waterspout

Historical Examples of waterspout

  • This demon was a waterspout, and waterspouts in China are attributed to the battles of dragons.


    Benjamin Taylor

  • They say to hit the waterspout in the centre where it joins the other from below will disperse it.

    Standish of Standish

    Jane G. Austin

  • Look, if there are not a number of dead fish which the waterspout must have sucked up.

    Picked up at Sea

    J.C. Hutcheson

  • As for the night, instead of a drizzle he would have welcomed a waterspout.

    The Rough Road

    William John Locke

  • The ship was lowered about a hundred feet away from the waterspout.

British Dictionary definitions for waterspout



  1. a tornado occurring over water that forms a column of water and mist extending between the surface and the clouds above
  2. a sudden downpour of heavy rain
a pipe or channel through which water is discharged, esp one used for drainage from the gutters of a roof
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 waterspout

late 14c., "drainpipe," from water (n.1) + spout (n.). Meaning "whirlwind on open water" is recorded from 1738.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper