fountainhead

noun
foun·​tain·​head | \ ˈfau̇n-tᵊn-ˌhed How to pronounce fountainhead (audio) \

Definition of fountainhead

1 : a spring that is the source of a stream
2 : principal source : origin

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Did You Know?

When it first entered English in the late 1500s, fountainhead was used only in a literal sense-to refer to the source of a stream. By the early 1600s, however, it was already beginning to be used figuratively in reference to any original or primary source. In his 1854 work Walden, Henry David Thoreau used the word in its figurative sense, while paying full homage to its literal meaning as well: "Morning air! If men will not drink of this at the fountainhead of the day, why, then, we must even bottle up some and sell it in the shops, for the benefit of those who have lost their subscription ticket to morning time in this world."

Examples of fountainhead in a Sentence

the fountainhead of the faith historically, California has served as the fountainhead of that eclectic group of self-actualization movements known as the New Age
Recent Examples on the Web The fountainhead for Chatwin’s and Herzog’s engrossing stories, of course, was their travels. Peter Gwin, National Geographic, "Werner Herzog: ‘The world reveals itself to those who travel on foot’," 26 Aug. 2020 The ability to spend beyond its means has enabled the U.S. to fund its impressive military might, whether one views that power as the fountainhead of Pax Americana or the source of illegitimate military adventurism. Joshua Zoffer, The New Republic, "To End Forever War, Keep the Dollar Globally Dominant," 3 Feb. 2020 The fountainhead of historian Bill Katz’s immersion in African-American culture was his father’s passion for jazz. BostonGlobe.com, "William Loren Katz, historian of African-Americans, dies at 92 - The Boston Globe," 27 Nov. 2019 Ownership passed down to the Sri Krishnabhoomi Trust, which is dominated by Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), an affiliate of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the ideological fountainhead of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Kuwar Singh, Quartz India, "The Ayodhya dispute has cast a shadow on the future of these Indian mosques," 9 Nov. 2019 The fountainhead of the historian Bill Katz’s immersion in African-American culture was his father’s passion for jazz. Sam Roberts, New York Times, "William Loren Katz, Historian of African-Americans, Dies at 92," 21 Nov. 2019 The North African nation on the Mediterranean Sea was the fountainhead of the 2011 Arab Spring protests, touched off by the self-immolation of a young fruit vendor. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Tunisia’s presidential vote pits professor vs. prisoner," 29 Sep. 2019 The North African nation on the Mediterranean Sea was the fountainhead of the 2011 Arab Spring protests, touched off by the self-immolation of a young fruit vendor. Washington Post, "Tunisia’s presidential vote pits professor vs. prisoner," 29 Sep. 2019 Dooky Chase’s restaurant was not just a fountainhead of Creole cuisine and a historic crossroads of Civil Rights politics. Doug Maccash, nola.com, "Chef Leah Chase explained why art is like a prayer," 3 June 2019

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

1585, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for fountainhead

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The first known use of fountainhead was in 1585

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Last Updated

11 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fountainhead.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fountainhead. Accessed 23 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for fountainhead

fountainhead

noun
How to pronounce fountainhead (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of fountainhead

literary : the origin or source of something

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