qa·​nat kə-ˈnät How to pronounce qanat (audio)
plural qanats
: an underground aqueduct used (as in the Middle East) to convey water from a source (such as an aquifer) through the force of gravity especially for the purpose of irrigation
In Iran, qanats are still being constructed, and the thought came to wed the ancient qanat technology with that of modern drilling methods.Mahesh C. Chaturvedi
I first saw a qanat system in Turfan, a small town deep in the Gobi desert, thousands of miles from the nearest ocean but cradled in a depression below sea level.Martin Harwit

Examples of qanat in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Her large-scale works reflect the desert of central Iran, and women there who conserve water, selling traditional crafts to maintain ancient, underground aqueducts called qanats. Cate McQuaid,, 3 May 2023 In fact, the qanat is still in use today. Sara Novak, Discover Magazine, 14 Dec. 2021

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

Word History


borrowed from Persian & Arabic; Persian qanāt, borrowed from Arabic qanāt-, qanāh "tube, duct, canal"

First Known Use

1855, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of qanat was in 1855

Dictionary Entries Near qanat

Cite this Entry

“Qanat.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Sep. 2023.

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