a small dam in a river or stream.
a fence, as of brush or narrow boards, or a net set in a stream, channel, etc., for catching fish.

Origin of weir

before 900; Middle English were, Old English wer, derivative of root of werian to defend, dam up Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for weir

Contemporary Examples of weir

Historical Examples of weir

  • The weir had been erected to pen the Chenook salmon from going further up-stream.

    American Notes

    Rudyard Kipling

  • What could make the river run at this pace—a weir—or a waterfall?

  • "Let me whisper in your ear," said Miss Desmond, loud above the chatter of the weir.

  • He yelled to me not to leave him, but the weir had give me my bearings, and I was bound for my power-boat.

    Cape Cod Stories

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • One day lately, when the water was low, he offered to cross the weir at Dingleford.


    Harriet Martineau

British Dictionary definitions for weir



a low dam that is built across a river to raise the water level, divert the water, or control its flow
a series of traps or enclosures placed in a stream to catch fish

Word Origin for weir

Old English wer; related to Old Norse ver, Old Frisian were, German Wehr



Judith. born 1954, Scottish composer: her operas include A Night at the Chinese Opera (1987), and Armida (2005)
Peter. born 1944, Australian film director; his films include Dead Poets Society (1989), The Truman Show (1998), and Master and Commander (2003)
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 weir

Old English wer "dam, fence, enclosure," especially one for catching fish (related to werian "dam up"), from Proto-Germanic *warjanan (cf. Old Norse ver, Old Frisian and Middle Dutch were, Dutch weer, Old High German wari, German Wehr "defense, protection," Gothic warjan "to defend, protect"), from PIE *wer- "to cover, shut" (cf. Sanskrit vatah "enclosure," vrnoti "covers, wraps, shuts;" Lithuanian uzveriu "to shut, to close;" Old Persian *pari-varaka "protective;" Latin (op)erire "to cover;" Old Church Slavonic vora "sealed, closed," vreti "shut;" Old Irish feronn "field," properly "enclosed land").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper