brack·​ish | \ ˈbra-kish How to pronounce brackish (audio) \

Definition of brackish

1 : somewhat salty brackish water
2a : not appealing to the taste brackish tea
b : repulsive a brackish personality

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Other Words from brackish

brackishness noun

Did You Know?

When the word brackish first appeared in English in the 1500s, it simply meant "salty," as did its Dutch ancestor "brak." Then, as now, brackish water could simply be a mixture of saltwater and freshwater. Since that time, however, "brackish" has developed the additional meanings of "unpalatable" or "distasteful" - presumably because of the undrinkable quality of saltwater. "The brackish water that we drink / Creeps with a loathsome slime, / And the bitter bread they weigh in scales / Is full of chalk and lime." As this use from Oscar Wilde's "Ballad of Reading Gaol" illustrates, brackish water can also include things other than salt that make it unpleasant to drink.

Examples of brackish in a Sentence

the office coffee is often some brackish brew that's been sitting around for a couple of hours the river becomes brackish as we approach the tidemark
Recent Examples on the Web Four projects in California are receiving nearly $2 million, including $1.4 million to set levees back from a tidal creek area to reduce flooding and reconnect tides to brackish wetlands. Janet Mcconnaughey, Anchorage Daily News, "Shaktoolik berm is among US coastal protection projects sharing $29 million federal grant," 18 Nov. 2019 Currently, desalination is largely limited to more affluent countries, especially those with ample fossil fuels and access to seawater (although brackish water inland can be desalinated, too). Henry Fountain, New York Times, "The World Can Make More Water From the Sea, but at What Cost?," 22 Oct. 2019 In salt water and brackish water fishing for stripers and white perch will generally be expected to be available through the end of the year but many of these fish too will migrate down the Bay. Bill May,, "Bill May: Putting together some fall fishing plans," 13 Oct. 2019 The Army Corps of Engineers twice opened the Bonnet Carre Spillway, which protects New Orleans’ levees by channeling huge amounts of river water into normally brackish Lake Pontchartrain, a huge tidal basin that drains into the Gulf. Washington Post, "Louisiana hopes to fight coast erosion by mimicking nature," 3 Oct. 2019 Vibrio is a bacterial infection that people can contract after consuming raw or undercooked seafood — particularly oysters — or exposing a wound to salt water or brackish water, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Char Adams,, "Mom Issues Warning After Son Contracts Flesh-Eating Bacteria at Maryland Beach," 3 July 2019 In one luxury boutique, employees used water vacuums and big squeegee mops to keep the brackish lagoon waters from advancing. Colleen Barry And Luca Bruno,, "Third record tide enters Venice as Italy hit with snow and rain," 17 Nov. 2019 The crux of the issue is the contention by environmentalists that the pumps suck up and kill endangered delta smelt, a silver-colored fish 2 to 3 inches long, uniquely adapted to the delta’s shifting currents and brackish water. Peter Fimrite,, "Federal officials rejigger rules on water deliveries — some say at expense of fish," 22 Oct. 2019 Wells from which people draw drinking water would be inundated, brackish water pouring into kitchen sinks., "A short documentary exploring climate change on Cape Cod," 26 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'brackish.' 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 brackish

circa 1552, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for brackish

Dutch brac salty; akin to Middle Low German brac salty

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Time Traveler for brackish

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The first known use of brackish was circa 1552

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Last Updated

6 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Brackish.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 14 December 2019.

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More Definitions for brackish


How to pronounce brackish (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of brackish

: somewhat salty


brack·​ish | \ ˈbra-kish How to pronounce brackish (audio) \

Kids Definition of brackish

: somewhat salty brackish water

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More from Merriam-Webster on brackish

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for brackish

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with brackish

Spanish Central: Translation of brackish

Nglish: Translation of brackish for Spanish Speakers

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to assail by words or arguments

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