reservoir

noun
res·​er·​voir | \ ˈre-zə-ˌvwär How to pronounce reservoir (audio) , -zər- How to pronounce reservoir (audio) , -ˌvwȯr How to pronounce reservoir (audio) also -ˌvȯi \

Definition of reservoir

1 : a place where something is kept in store: such as
a : an artificial lake where water is collected and kept in quantity for use
b : a part of an apparatus in which a liquid is held
c : supply, store a large reservoir of educated people
2 : an extra supply : reserve
3a : a host organism in which an infectious agent (such as a bacterium or virus) that is pathogenic for some other species lives and multiplies typically without damaging the host

Note: A reservoir serves as a source from which transmission of infection and outbreaks of disease can occur.

It is the white-footed mouse that serves as a natural reservoir host for the spirochete B. [Borrelia] burgdorferi. These mice carry the spirochete without any apparent harm to themselves, and it is through feeding on infected mice that the immature stages of the tick acquire the spirochete.— Suzanne Clothier et al. also : a nonliving thing (such as soil or water) in which an infectious agent lives and multiplies and which serves as a source of infection similar to a host organism
b : a part of the body that harbors an infectious agent and serves as a source of reinfection or infection transmission … vulvar or rectal reservoirs, which might increase risk for BV [bacterial vaginosis] recurrence.— Lisa E. Manhart et al. — compare carrier sense 5a, vector entry 1 sense 2a

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of reservoir in a Sentence

The pen has a large ink reservoir. Colleges and universities provide reservoirs of talent for job recruiters. She found the reservoirs of energy she needed to finish the job.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web The surface of the reservoir now shimmers in the sun 117 feet below its full capacity, marked by a white line of minerals along the reddish-brown rocks. Ian James, AZCentral.com, "Climate's toll on the Colorado River: 'We can weather maybe a couple of years'," 1 Jan. 2021 Shasta Lake, the largest reservoir, is at 72% of its historical average. Kurtis Alexander, SFChronicle.com, "Dismal California snowpack is bad sign for water supplies," 30 Dec. 2020 The reservoir has declined to 39% of full capacity and is approaching the threshold of officially entering a shortage. Ian James, The Arizona Republic, "Colorado River tribes seek approval from Congress to put water on the market in Arizona," 24 Dec. 2020 Simpson, who became president last month, added that as lawmakers face a $3 billion to $4 billion shortfall in the next budget, the state probably should stop building the reservoir. Jim Turner, orlandosentinel.com, "DeSantis backs Everglades reservoir that Senate President Simpson calls a ‘mistake’," 21 Dec. 2020 Light and inexpensive, the Thru-Link is also dead simple: Clip it into your reservoir’s drinking tube for easy access to clean water. The Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "Gear of the Year: The Best Products We Tested in 2020," 29 Dec. 2020 The light, precise hand, always in pencil, brought Ed back in full force: his voice, his charm, his reservoir of sadness. Mary Norris, The New Yorker, "The Archives of an Unfulfilled Genius," 27 Dec. 2020 Many have reached the bottom of their reservoir, with little left to give, especially without sufficient tools to defend themselves against a disease that has killed more than 1,000 of them. New York Times, "Covid Combat Fatigue: ‘I Would Come Home With Tears in My Eyes’," 25 Nov. 2020 Yet the news of his passing recalled for me his reservoir of strength and his frequent admonition to us to dig deeper within ourselves. Anne N. Sosin, The Christian Science Monitor, "I learned to lean into the hills," 25 Nov. 2020

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

See More

First Known Use of reservoir

1690, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for reservoir

French réservoir, from Middle French, from reserver

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about reservoir

Time Traveler for reservoir

Time Traveler

The first known use of reservoir was in 1690

See more words from the same year

Statistics for reservoir

Last Updated

18 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Reservoir.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/reservoir. Accessed 25 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for reservoir

reservoir

noun
How to pronounce reservoir (audio) How to pronounce reservoir (audio) How to pronounce reservoir (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of reservoir

: a usually artificial lake that is used to store a large supply of water for use in people's homes, in businesses, etc.
: a place (such as a part of a machine) where a liquid is stored
: an extra supply of something

reservoir

noun
res·​er·​voir | \ ˈre-zər-ˌvwär How to pronounce reservoir (audio) \

Kids Definition of reservoir

: a place where something (as water) is kept in store for future use

reservoir

noun
res·​er·​voir | \ ˈrez-ə(r)v-ˌwär How to pronounce reservoir (audio) , -ə(r)v-ˌ(w)ȯr How to pronounce reservoir (audio) \

Medical Definition of reservoir

1 : a space (as an enlargement of a vessel or the cavity of a glandular acinus) in which a body fluid is stored
2a : a host organism in which an infectious agent (as a bacterium or virus) that is pathogenic for some other species lives and multiplies typically without damaging the host

Note: A reservoir serves as a source from which transmission of infection and outbreaks of disease can occur.

Wild rodents also constitute a reservoir of hantaviruses. The viruses are shed in urine, droppings, and saliva, and humans are mainly infected aerogenically by inhaling aerosols containing the virus.— Hilde Kruse et al., Emerging Infectious Diseases also : a nonliving thing (as soil or water) in which an infectious agent lives and multiplies and which serves as a source of infection similar to a host organism
b : a part of the body that harbors an infectious agent and serves as a source of reinfection or infection transmission … vulvar or rectal reservoirs, which might increase risk for BV [bacterial vaginosis] recurrence.— Lisa E. Manhart et al., Infectious Diseases in Obstetrics and Gynecology carrier sense 1a, vector entry 1 sense 2

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on reservoir

What made you want to look up reservoir? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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