lim·​net·​ic lim-ˈne-tik How to pronounce limnetic (audio)
: of, relating to, or inhabiting the open water of a body of fresh water
limnetic environment

Word History


probably from Greek limnḗtēs "living around lakes" (from límnē "standing water, pool, marshy lake" + -ētēs, extended form of -tēs, agent suffix) + -ic entry 1, after German limnetisch; Greek límnē perhaps going back to an Indo-European paradigm *lei-mōn, accusative *li-men-m, genitive *li-mn-os, whence, with semantic and morphological differentiation, Greek leimṓn "damp tract of ground, moist meadow," limen-, limḗn "protected creek, harbor"

Note: Despite the apparent antiquity of the underlying paradigm, the etymon has no certain Indo-European congeners. It has been compared with Latin līmus "mud, mire," Old English slīm slime entry 1 (assuming an original sense "wetness") and, in a completely different direction, with Latin līmus "transverse, oblique," Old English lim "member, limb entry 1" (assuming an original sense, "something bent in, depression").

First Known Use

1899, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of limnetic was in 1899

Dictionary Entries Near limnetic

Cite this Entry

“Limnetic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Apr. 2024.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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