aq·​ue·​duct | \ ˈa-kwə-ˌdəkt How to pronounce aqueduct (audio) \

Definition of aqueduct

1a : a conduit for water especially : one for carrying a large quantity of flowing water
b : a structure for conveying a canal over a river or hollow
2 : a canal or passage in a part or organ

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Based partly on the Latin ducere, meaning "lead" or "conduct," the word aqueduct named an ancient civil-engineering marvel. Ancient Rome's aqueduct system, an extraordinary feat of engineering, brought water to the city from as far as 57 miles (92 kilometers) away. Only a portion of the Roman aqueducts utilized the familiar stone arch; most were underground conduits made of stone or terra-cotta pipe. Modern aqueduct systems now often use reinforced concrete for large water mains, and ductile iron, a stronger and more elastic type of cast iron, for smaller underground pipes.

Examples of aqueduct in a Sentence

marveled at the ancient Roman aqueducts that still carry water to distant villages
Recent Examples on the Web Tourists are drawn to the countryside to see a landmark of monumental beauty: the Pont du Gard, a 2,000-year-old Roman aqueduct that rises above the valley like a dusty jewel. Liz Alderman, New York Times, "Are Amazon Jobs Worth 1,400 Loads of Traffic? French Region Is Split," 11 Oct. 2020 These days the aqueduct marks the entrance to a park, where the Château de Marly once stood. National Geographic, "The mechanical wonder that powered Versailles’s fountains," 20 Aug. 2020 The aqueduct still stands, along with a pair of reservoirs behind it. National Geographic, "The mechanical wonder that powered Versailles’s fountains," 20 Aug. 2020 Based on an ancient Roman design, the aqueduct was an enormous brick-and-stone structure spanning 36 arches and reaching a height of 65 feet, about 530 feet above the level of the Seine. National Geographic, "The mechanical wonder that powered Versailles’s fountains," 20 Aug. 2020 At the turn of the century, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) began building a controversial aqueduct that carries water from the valley more than 200 miles south to the now giant metropolis. Libby Leonard, National Geographic, "This California landscape has a Confederate name—why?," 10 Aug. 2020 This latest analysis revealed a large rectangular structure connected to a network of water pipes, leading to the city's aqueduct. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "An ancient Roman city has been fully mapped using ground-penetrating radar," 14 June 2020 By the mid-1850s, New York City had constructed a 40-mile aqueduct system and banished 20,000 pigs from the city. Yasmeen Serhan, The Atlantic, "The Coronavirus Is Already Reshaping Urban Life," 9 June 2020 The images even showed a network of water pipes ran beneath the city's blocks and streets, connected to a large rectangular building and led to an aqueduct. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Archaeologists discovered 'elaborate' details of a complete ancient Roman city without digging," 8 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'aqueduct.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of aqueduct

1538, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for aqueduct

Latin aquaeductus, from aquae (genitive of aqua) + ductus act of leading — more at duct

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Time Traveler for aqueduct

Time Traveler

The first known use of aqueduct was in 1538

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Statistics for aqueduct

Last Updated

19 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Aqueduct.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for aqueduct


How to pronounce aqueduct (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of aqueduct

: a structure that looks like a bridge and that is used to carry water over a valley also : a pipe or channel that is used to bring water to an area


aq·​ue·​duct | \ ˈa-kwə-ˌdəkt How to pronounce aqueduct (audio) \

Kids Definition of aqueduct

: an artificial channel used to carry water over a valley


aq·​ue·​duct | \ ˈak-wə-ˌdəkt How to pronounce aqueduct (audio) \

Medical Definition of aqueduct

: a canal or passage in a part or organ

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