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fresh·​wa·​ter ˈfresh-ˈwȯ-tər How to pronounce freshwater (audio)
: consisting of or containing fresh water
freshwater marshes
freshwater aquariums
compare saltwater
: living in or taken from fresh water
freshwater mussels/fish
freshwater pearls
: relating to or taking place in fresh water
freshwater diving/sailing
US, dated : inland and usually provincial
a freshwater college

fresh water

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or less commonly freshwater
: water that is not salty
… the lake holds the largest volume of fresh water in the world, 5,000 cubic miles.Philip Taubman
also : water that is considered suitable for consumption
He saw many islands, but they were flat or rocky or they lacked fresh water or their anchorage was too shallow. John Taylor
: a body of fresh water
The hydrosphere includes oceans, fresh water, glaciers, and ice caps.Leigh Broadhurst
compare salt water

Examples of freshwater in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
The Great Lakes are the freshwater heart of North America. Caitlin Looby, Journal Sentinel, 16 May 2024 Recipes based on freshwater fish, like risotto with European perch, are a key part of local gastronomy. Vittoria Traverso, Smithsonian Magazine, 13 Nov. 2023
The site offered plenty of fresh water, with a series of pools. Paul Smaglik, Discover Magazine, 7 June 2024 The plan is opposed by the Sierra Club, Friends of the River and other environmental groups who say that filling Sites would divert too much water from the Sacramento River, hurting endangered salmon, steelhead and Delta smelt, and depriving the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta of fresh water. Paul Rogers, The Mercury News, 5 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for freshwater 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'freshwater.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1b


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of freshwater was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near freshwater

Cite this Entry

“Freshwater.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


: of, relating to, or living in fresh water
a freshwater fish
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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