• (RP) IPA: /ˈwɔːtə/
    • (England, Estuary English) IPA: [woːʔɐ]
    • (dialectal) IPA: /ˈwɒtə/, /ˈwɒtəɹ/
  • (North America)
    • (America) IPA: /ˈwɔtəɹ/, [ˈwɔɾɚ], enPR: wôtər
    • (America, cot-caught, Canada) IPA: /ˈwɑtəɹ/, [ˈwɑɾɚ], enPR: wŏtər
    • (New York, Philadelphia) IPA: /ˈwʊtəɹ/, [ˈwʊɾɚ]
  • (Australia) IPA: /ˈwoːtə/, [ˈwoːɾə]
  • (New Zealand) IPA: /ˈwoːtɘ/
  • (InE) IPA: [ˈʋɔːtə], [ˈʋɔːtəɹ]
  • (obsolete) IPA: /ˈwætəɹ/


  1. (uncountable) A substance (of molecular formula H₂O) found at room temperature and pressure as a clear liquid; it is present naturally as rain, and found in rivers, lakes and seas; its solid form is ice and its gaseous form is steam.
    By the action of electricity, the water was resolved into its two parts, oxygen and hydrogen.
    1. (uncountable, in particular) The liquid form of this substance: liquid H₂O.
      May I have a glass of water?
      Your plants need more water.
      • 1835, Sir John Ross (Arctic explorer), Sir James Clark Ross, Narrative of a Second Voyage in Search of a North-west Passage …, Volume 1 ↗, pp.284-5
        Towards the following morning, the thermometer fell to 5°; and at daylight, there was not an atom of water to be seen in any direction.
      • 2002, Arthur T. Hubbard, Encyclopedia of Surface and Colloid Science ISBN 0824707966, page 4895:
        A water drop placed on the surface of ice can either spread or form a lens depending on the properties of the three phases involved in wetting, i.e., on the properties of the ice, water, and gas phases.
    2. (countable) A serving of liquid water.
  2. (alchemy, philosophy) The aforementioned liquid, considered one of the Classical elements or basic elements of alchemy.
    And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
    He showed me the river of living water, sparkling like crystal, flowing from the throne of God.
  3. (uncountable or in the plural) Water in a body; an area of open water.
    • c. 1595–1596, William Shakespeare, “Loues Labour’s Lost”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act V, scene i], page 138 ↗, column 2:
      Roſa. O vain peticioner, beg a greater matter, / Thou now requeſts but Mooneſhine in the water.
    • 2019, [https://web.archive.org/web/20190311070055/https://learningenglish.voanews.com/a/south-korea-proposes-rain-project-with-china-to-cut-pollution/4819207.html VOA Learning English] (public domain)
      The president expressed hope that creating rain over waters between the countries would help reduce pollution.
    The boat was found within the territorial waters.
    These seals are a common sight in the coastal waters of Chile.
  4. (poetic, archaic or dialectal) A body of water, almost always a river.
  5. A combination of water and other substance(s).
    1. (sometimes, countable) Mineral water.
      Perrier is the most popular water in this restaurant.
    2. (countable, often, in the plural) Spa water.
      Many people visit Bath to take the waters.
    3. (pharmacy) A solution in water of a gaseous or readily volatile substance.
      ammonia water
    4. Urine. [from 15th c.]
    5. Amniotic fluid. qual Used only in the plural in the UK but often also in the singular in North America. (The Merriam-Webster Medical Dictionary says "often used in plural; also: bag of waters".)
      Before the child is born, the pregnant woman’s water breaks. (North America)
      Before your child is born, your water(s) will break. (North America)
      Before the child is born, the pregnant woman’s waters break. (UK)
    6. (colloquial, medicine) Fluids in the body, especially when causing swelling.
      He suffers from water on the knee.
  6. (figuratively, in the plural or in the singular) A state of affairs; conditions; usually with an adjective indicating an adverse condition.
    The rough waters of change will bring about the calm after the storm.
  7. (colloquial, figuratively) A person's intuition.
    I know he'll succeed. I feel it in my waters.
  8. (uncountable, dated, finance) Excess valuation of securities.
  9. The limpidity and lustre of a precious stone, especially a diamond.
    a diamond of the first water is perfectly pure and transparent
  10. A wavy, lustrous pattern or decoration such as is imparted to linen, silk, metals, etc.
Synonyms Antonyms Verb

water (waters, present participle watering; past and past participle watered)

  1. (transitive) To pour water into the soil surrounding (plants).
  2. (transitive) To wet or supply with water; to moisten; to overflow with water; to irrigate.
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book 9”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: Printed [by Samuel Simmons], and are to be sold by Peter Parker […] [a]nd by Robert Boulter […] [a]nd Matthias Walker, […], OCLC 228722708 ↗; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: The Text Exactly Reproduced from the First Edition of 1667: […], London: Basil Montagu Pickering […], 1873, OCLC 230729554 ↗:
      tears watering the ground
    • Men whose lives glided on like rivers that water the woodlands.
  3. (transitive) To provide (animals) with water for drinking.
    I need to go water the cattle.
  4. (intransitive) To get or take in water.
    The ship put into port to water.
  5. (transitive, colloquial) To urinate onto.
    Nature called, so I stepped into the woods and watered a tree.
  6. (transitive) To dilute.
    Can you water the whisky, please?
  7. (transitive, dated, finance) To overvalue (securities), especially through deceptive accounting.
  8. (intransitive) To fill with or secrete water.
    Chopping onions makes my eyes water.
    The smell of fried onions makes my mouth water.
  9. (transitive) To wet and calender, as cloth, so as to impart to it a lustrous appearance in wavy lines; to diversify with wavelike lines.
    to water silk
Synonyms Antonyms Translations Translations Translations
  • German: Harn lassen
  • Portuguese: mijar
  • Russian: пи́сать
  • Spanish: hacer agua
  • French: mouiller (literally, to wet)
  • Russian: разбавля́ть

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