(used with a singular or plural verb) a complete system of reservoirs, pipelines, conduits, etc., by which water is collected, purified, stored, and pumped to urban users.
(used with a singular verb) a pumping station or a purifying station of such a system.
Sometimes waterwork .(usually used with a plural verb) a spectacular display of water, mechanically produced, as for a pageant.
(used with a singular or plural verb)Slang. tears, or the source of tears: to turn on the waterworks.
Slang. the kidneys.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use waterworks in a sentence
Below, a waterworks at Tokyo Disneyland gets interrupted by the 8.9 quake.Shocking Videos and Photos From the 2011 Japan Earthquake and Tsunami | The Daily Beast | March 11, 2011 | THE DAILY BEAST
The waterworks tend to switch on at moments of teeth-grinding stress and sweet relief.
Today Pat Brown is remembered as a builder—of freeways and universities and waterworks.
Turn to the left into the Chausse de Furnes, leaving on the left the reservoir of the ruined waterworks.Ypres and the Battles of Ypres | Unknown
Would the waterworks fail and the rabble catch her, after all?A German Pompadour | Marie Hay
It was through his instrumentality that Walla Walla secured its waterworks.Lyman's History of old Walla Walla County, Vol. 2 (of 2) | William Denison Lyman
If waterworks are handy, connect the boiler with a hydrant and after filling the boiler, let it receive the hydrant pressure.Farm Engines and How to Run Them | James H. Stephenson
In case no waterworks with good pressure are at hand, you can use a hydraulic pump or a good force pump.Farm Engines and How to Run Them | James H. Stephenson
British Dictionary definitions for waterworks
(functioning as singular) an establishment for storing, purifying, and distributing water for community supply
(functioning as plural) a display of water in movement, as in fountains
(functioning as plural) British informal, euphemistic the urinary system, esp with reference to its normal functioning: he has trouble with his waterworks
(functioning as plural) informal crying; tears
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
Other Idioms and Phrases with waterworks
see turn on the waterworks.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.