na·​iad ˈnā-əd How to pronounce naiad (audio)
-ˌad How to pronounce naiad (audio)
plural naiads or naiades ˈnā-ə-ˌdēz How to pronounce naiad (audio)
: any of the nymphs in classical mythology living in and giving life to lakes, rivers, springs, and fountains
: an aquatic insect nymph (as of a mayfly, dragonfly, damselfly, or stone fly)
: any of a genus (Najas of the family Najadaceae) of submerged aquatic plants

Keep scrolling for more

Example Sentences

in Greek mythology, naiads supposedly drowned the young men with whom they became enamored students in science class learning how to distinguish a dragonfly naiad from an earthworm
Recent Examples on the Web The lovely Arcadia region, lush with cypress, poplar, and olive groves, bears traces of the virgin wilderness where nymphs, naiads, and the horned god Pan once frolicked. Thomas Linkel, National Geographic, 18 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'naiad.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Keep scrolling for more

Word History


Middle English, from Middle French or Latin; Middle French naïade, from Latin naiad-, naias, from Greek, from nan to flow — more at nourish

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near naiad

Cite this Entry

“Naiad.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Aug. 2022.

Keep scrolling for more

Keep scrolling for more

Keep scrolling for more

Kids Definition


na·​iad ˈnā-əd How to pronounce naiad (audio)
plural naiads or naiades
: a nymph believed in ancient times to be living in lakes, rivers, and springs

More from Merriam-Webster on naiad

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

Commonly Confused Words Quiz

  • vector image of a face with thought expression
  • I went to the ______ store to buy a birthday card.
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.