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

Keep scrolling for more

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 Marsh plants that like brackish water, and some species of birds and fish, will likely benefit, Nyman says. Warren Cornwall, Science | AAAS, "Rerouting the Mississippi River could build new land—and save a retreating coast," 22 Apr. 2021 The Indian River is like an Amazon tributary, with slow-moving brackish water and thick vegetation on the banks. Michael Verdon, Robb Report, "How the Lush Caribbean Island of Dominica Became a Superyacht Haven," 18 Apr. 2021 Created by wind and separated from the Gulf by a narrow berm of sand, these brackish waterways are home to a wide variety of fresh and saltwater species. Susan Glaser, cleveland, "A first-timer’s guide to Seaside, Rosemary Beach and the rest of 30A on Florida’s Emerald Coast," 11 Mar. 2021 Their sweet, brackish scent hangs in the air like a sea breeze released from a time capsule—a reminder that behind each tin of fish lies a landscape, a history and human hands. Benjamin Kemper, WSJ, "Dinner From a Can, No Apologies," 17 Dec. 2020 Lewis and his colleagues have collected them for study in the brackish waters of Alviso Marsh in the southern part of the bay. Tara Duggan, San Francisco Chronicle, "SF Baykeeper sues Biden administration to list local longfin smelt as endangered species," 8 Apr. 2021 The issue, according to Harold Wanless, professor in the Geology Department at the University of Miami, is that when the tainted water gets injected into the ground, it’s being injected into brackish water. Lisa J. Huriash,, "We shoot our treated waste deep into the earth. Now, the fight is on over hefty fixes.," 1 Apr. 2021 With Heron Farms, Norton set out to create a business that could thrive in Charleston’s flooded normal by taking advantage of the region’s brackish water to grow food. Caroline Hatchett, Smithsonian Magazine, "How One Farmer Is Introducing Americans to Sea Beans," 12 Mar. 2021 This tree can thrive in brackish water that flows between rivers and the sea. World Economic Forum, Forbes, "Post-Pandemic Leadership: How Managing A Business Is Changing In Times Of Covid-19," 1 Mar. 2021

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about brackish

Time Traveler for brackish

Time Traveler

The first known use of brackish was circa 1552

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about brackish

Statistics for brackish

Last Updated

6 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Brackish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for brackish



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

More from Merriam-Webster on brackish

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for brackish

Nglish: Translation of brackish for Spanish Speakers

Comments on brackish

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Used by Nabokov Quiz

  • image1676440788
  • Choose the best definition or synonym for the word in bold: "There are some eructations that sound like cheers—at least, mine did." Lolita
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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