open water


plural open waters
: water that is clear of obstacles to passage or view : water that is open (see open entry 1 sense 7a)
The word marsh conjures up a mental picture of a soggy, flat area filled with cattails and other herbaceous vegetation, with ducks sitting on patches of open water.Robert H. Mohlenbrock
often, specifically : water that is free of ice
When the river froze in the fall, a mile of open water had been left between two mighty jams. Jack London
Polynyas were areas of persistent open water, found throughout the circumpolar arctic, places kept ice-free by currents and wind patterns. David R. Masiel
Because the penguins feed in the ocean, they typically set up colonies near open water and must establish new nests when the coastline becomes covered in … ice. Science News

Examples of open water in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In the Pacific, Hurricane Jova spun through open waters far from Mexico’s southwest coast and posed no threat to land. DÁnica Coto,, 9 Sep. 2023 Triathletes swim in open water and are well aware of possible bacteria infections. Daniel Wu, Washington Post, 28 Aug. 2023 Though the challenges, like diving out of a helicopter into open water or literally being set on fire(!!!), are enough to break most people, several contestants have shared behind-the-scenes rules that made things even tougher. Jamie Ballard, Women's Health, 22 Aug. 2023 Cage diving is an option, but many adventurers choose to swim with sharks in open waters. Catherine Garcia, The Week, 15 July 2023 The Caribbean was also closely watching Tropical Storm Cindy trailing Bret, though forecasts called for that storm to take a path northeast of the Caribbean over open waters. DÁnica Coto, ajc, 23 June 2023 Written by Julia Cox, the film details Nyad’s quest to complete a 53-hour, 110-mile swim from Cuba to Florida, through the open ocean, without any protection from open water sharks. Clayton Davis, Variety, 1 Sep. 2023 Keep cool and shaded on the open water with the Sunday Afternoons Ultra Adventure Hat. Kevin Brouillard, Travel + Leisure, 29 Aug. 2023 Fearing the blaze more than open water, about 40 people scaled Lahaina’s seawall and plunged into the Pacific, several survivors said. Melissa Chan, NBC News, 18 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'open water.' 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

1625, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of open water was in 1625

Dictionary Entries Near open water

Cite this Entry

“Open water.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Oct. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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