cess·​pool | \ ˈses-ˌpül How to pronounce cesspool (audio) \

Definition of cesspool

1 : an underground reservoir for liquid waste (such as household sewage)
2 : a filthy, evil, or corrupt place or state a cesspool of corruption

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Synonyms for cesspool


Augean stable, Gomorrah, sink

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Examples of cesspool in a Sentence

The region had become a cesspool of pollution. over the decades the once-respectable neighborhood had become an urban cesspool

Recent Examples on the Web

In the mid-to-late 1970s, New York was a bit of a cesspool: Crime was out of control, repeated requests for federal aid were denied, and the city was on the edge of bankruptcy. Vogue, "The 55 Best Romantic Comedies of All Time," 1 Feb. 2019 And, yeah, the Earl Thomas situation still has the potential to erupt into a cesspool of recrimination despite the ceasefire of hostilities once the whistle blows. Larry Stone, The Seattle Times, "In win over Cowboys, Seahawks show they can thrive amid the Earl Thomas chaos," 24 Sep. 2018 What used to be a home for funny, irreverent comedy and harmless gags gradually transformed into an unaccountable cesspool of toxic actors and bad-faith harassers. Bijan Stephen, The Verge, "Sweden’s official Twitter account will no longer be run by random Swedes," 5 Sep. 2018 And, yes, that might mean some awful people create filter bubbles of nonsense and hatred, but average people could avoid those cesspools while at the same time those tasked with monitoring those kinds of idiots and their behavior could still do so. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Why Facebook banned Alex Jones — and Twitter didn’t," 11 Aug. 2018 Many homes use rainwater-catch tanks and cesspools or septic tanks. Caleb Jones, Fox News, "Living on Hawaii volcano offers affordable paradise, risks," 8 May 2018 From that cesspool of decadence and depravity at Churchill Downs the genre of Gonzo journalism was born and the fastest two minutes in sports started a friendship that lasted a lifetime between the writer and the artist. The Courier-Journal, "Ralph Steadman Recalls 1970 Derby Adventure," 3 May 2018 But the 50-square-mile lake, considered Florida’s fourth-largest, devolved from a fishing paradise to a toxic cesspool during a half-century of environmental abuse beginning in the 1940s with chemical runoff from vegetable farms. Stephen Hudak, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Winter Garden buys lakefront properties, envisions 'nicest park on Lake Apopka'," 8 June 2018 The island is being shut for up to six months while sewage containment and other work is done to clean up waters the president called a cesspool. Joeal Calupitan, Fox News, "Workers head home, look for other jobs as Boracay closes," 26 Apr. 2018

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

1782, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for cesspool

perhaps by folk etymology from Middle English suspiral vent, tap on a main pipe, settling pool, from Anglo-French suspirale vent, from suspirer to sigh, exhale, from Latin suspirare, literally, to draw a long breath — more at suspire

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Statistics for cesspool

Last Updated

22 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for cesspool

The first known use of cesspool was in 1782

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English Language Learners Definition of cesspool

: an underground hole or container for holding liquid waste (such as sewage) from a building
: a place or situation that is very dirty, evil, or corrupt

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More from Merriam-Webster on cesspool

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cesspool

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cesspool

Spanish Central: Translation of cesspool

Nglish: Translation of cesspool for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about cesspool

Comments on cesspool

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a flaw that causes the downfall of a hero

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