aquifer

noun
aqui·​fer | \ ˈa-kwə-fər How to pronounce aquifer (audio) , ˈä-\

Definition of aquifer

: a water-bearing stratum of permeable rock, sand, or gravel

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from aquifer

aquiferous \ a-​ˈkwi-​fə-​rəs How to pronounce aquiferous (audio) , ä-​ \ adjective

Aquifer and Agriculture

The vast but relatively shallow Ogallala Aquifer lies beneath the Great Plains, under portions of eight states. Its thickness ranges from a few feet to more than a thousand feet. The Ogallala yields about 30 percent of the nation's groundwater used for irrigation in agriculture, and provides drinking water for most of the people within the area. But for many years more water has been extracted from the Ogallala than has been returned, and the situation today is of great concern.

Examples of aquifer in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Humid aquifers, like those in Florida, would be able to replenish themselves faster. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Climate Change Could Turn Earth's Aquifers Into a Time Bomb," 22 Jan. 2019 Hewitt was rebuked by MSNBC bosses in May after Politico reported that his law firm brokered a meeting last year between the EPA and the lawyers for an Orange County water district grappling with the cleanup of a polluted aquifer. Stephen Battaglio, latimes.com, "MSNBC cancels conservative host Hugh Hewitt's Saturday show," 2 July 2018 The watering limits are designed to prevent overpumping of the aquifer, which is the main source of drinking water for 2 million people in the region. Scott Huddleston, San Antonio Express-News, "San Antonio, other cities activate Stage 1 watering restrictions," 21 May 2018 But recharge efforts rarely match what's getting pumped out of an aquifer. Dustin Gardiner, azcentral, "Arizona aquifers are in trouble, but lawmakers want fewer rules for pumping groundwater," 4 Apr. 2018 The Wagners and Kinnards live in one of many U.S. regions where the interests of the agricultural economy are colliding with those of residents relying on aquifers. Jesse Newman And Patrick Mcgroarty, WSJ, "Farms, More Productive Than Ever, Are Poisoning Drinking Water in Rural America," 18 Jan. 2019 Because of the continuing drought, the ground under Tehran has started sinking as underground aquifers dry up. Thomas Erdbrink, New York Times, "Iranians Prayed for Rain, but Were Covered in Snow," 28 Jan. 2018 What's certain, officials said, is that the aquifer that the municipalities rely on for well water is showing signs of depletion. Linda Girardi, Aurora Beacon-News, "Oswego to do further study of Lake Michigan water option," 20 Apr. 2018 It was once celebrated as one of the largest freshwater aquifers west of the Mississippi River, but the level in certain wells had fallen significantly. Russell Gold, WSJ, "Harvard Quietly Amasses California Vineyards—and the Water Underneath," 10 Dec. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of aquifer

1897, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for aquifer

borrowed from French aquifère "water-bearing," from aqui- (from Latin aqua "water" + -i- -i-) + -fère "bearing" — more at aqua, -fer

Note: Term introduced into English by the geologist William Harmon Norton (1856-1944) in "Artesian Wells of Iowa," Iowa Geological Survey, vol. 6, Report on Lead, Zinc, Artesian Wells, etc. (Des Moines, 1897), p. 130: "The sand represents the permeable water-bearing layer, the aquifer, to revive a term of Arago's, and its outcrop between the basin rims the area of supply." "Arago" is the French physicist François Arago (1786-1853), whose essay "Sur les puits forés, connus sous le nom de puits artésiens, des fontaines artésiennes, ou de fontaines jaillissants" (Bureau des Longitudes, Annuaire pour l'an 1835 [Paris, 1834], pp. 181-258, is cited earlier in Norton's paper. As noted by Alfred Clebsch ("Analysis and Critique of 'Aquifers, Ground-Water Bodies, and Hydrophers' by C.V. Theis," Selected Contributions to Ground-Water Hydrology by C.V. Theis, and a Review of His Life and Work [U.S. Geological Survey Water-Supply Paper 2415] [Denver, 1994], pp. 39-43), Norton is not strictly speaking "reviving" anything used by Arago, who only uses aquifère as an adjective in the collocations nappe aquifère and couche aquifère (both meaning approximately "water-bearing layer"). Note that in an English translation of Arago's article ("On Springs, Artesian Wells, and Spouting Fountains," Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal, vol. 18, no. 36 [April, 1835] there is no direct equivalent of aquifère, as couches aquifères is rendered by "water bearing beds" and nappe aquifère as simply "water."

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about aquifer

Statistics for aquifer

Last Updated

14 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for aquifer

The first known use of aquifer was in 1897

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for aquifer

aquifer

noun

English Language Learners Definition of aquifer

technical : a layer of rock or sand that can absorb and hold water

More from Merriam-Webster on aquifer

Nglish: Translation of aquifer for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about aquifer

Comments on aquifer

What made you want to look up aquifer? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to move or proceed with twists and turns

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!