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

Other Words from aquifer

aquiferous \ a-​ˈkwi-​fə-​rəs How to pronounce aquifer (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 In 2017, high levels of arsenic, lead and fluoride were found in monitoring wells at Allen, sparking fears that the aquifer that supplies Memphis’ drinking water could become tainted. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 25 Nov. 2021 Oswego trustees meeting as a committee of the whole recently were given a status update on the analysis of sustainable water options for the village, since the aquifer that the region’s municipalities rely on for well water is depleting. Linda Girardi, chicagotribune.com, 22 Nov. 2021 Plans call for adding more water to the city’s main aquifer than would be withdrawn. oregonlive, 7 Nov. 2021 The rail authority also sank a high-capacity water well for dust suppression, which drained down a shallow aquifer that feeds their domestic well. Ralph Vartabedian, Los Angeles Times, 29 Oct. 2021 The rock layer may be a depleted oilfield or a saline aquifer. Ian Palmer, Forbes, 26 Oct. 2021 But Julia Martínez, who grew up in the region and is now a biologist and technical director at Fundación Nueva Cultura del Agua, an institute that specializes in water sustainability, said that the arguments about the aquifer were a red herring. BostonGlobe.com, 18 Oct. 2021 The dispute stretches back to 2005 when Mississippi first claimed that Memphis was pumping water from the Mississippi portion of the aquifer. BostonGlobe.com, 4 Oct. 2021 Ukiah itself sits on an alluvial aquifer, as does much of the Central Valley. Washington Post, 22 Oct. 2021

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.

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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: The term was 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."

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The first known use of aquifer was in 1897

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Last Updated

28 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Aquifer.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/aquifer. Accessed 30 Nov. 2021.

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More Definitions for aquifer

aquifer

noun

English Language Learners Definition of aquifer

: 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

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