wa·​ter·​wheel | \ ˈwȯ-tər-ˌ(h)wēl How to pronounce waterwheel (audio) , ˈwä- \

Definition of waterwheel

1 : a wheel made to rotate by direct action of water
2 : a wheel for raising water

Illustration of waterwheel

Illustration of waterwheel

waterwheel 1

Examples of waterwheel in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web At the springhead, visitors can swim in crystal-clear waters, then explore a historic millhouse and waterwheel constructed in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Patrick Connolly, orlandosentinel.com, 17 Oct. 2021 In other cases, the clocks were driven by the same waterwheel that powered the factory. Jonathon Keats, Forbes, 31 Aug. 2021 It’s the knowledge-work equivalent of figuring out how to make the waterwheel turn faster—a useful improvement in the moment, but not nearly as important as the looming introduction of the steam engine. Cal Newport, The New Yorker, 14 Dec. 2020 In 1915, Ralph Clarkson, an engineering professor at Nova Scotia’s Acadia University, prototyped a tidal-power generator with four pumps, powered by a horizontal waterwheel, that lifted water 335 feet into two tanks atop the Cape Split headland. Greta Rybus, Smithsonian Magazine, 10 Apr. 2020 Meanwhile, in the bathroom by the bedroom, my kids’ old faded plastic waterwheel waits motionless in the tub. New York Times, 29 Apr. 2020 This is a giant, historic wood waterwheel that was used to grind wheat into grain. Tom Stienstra, SFChronicle.com, 21 Feb. 2020 Mid-river, a peaceful island with a pleasant park and a rebuilt medieval waterwheel shows off what must have been impressive technology in its day. Rick Steves, USA TODAY, 24 Nov. 2019 Once waterwheel is entrenched, management options are limited. Marion Renault, New York Times, 13 Aug. 2019

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

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First Known Use of waterwheel

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for waterwheel

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The first known use of waterwheel was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near waterwheel

water weevil


water whip

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Statistics for waterwheel

Last Updated

29 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Waterwheel.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/waterwheel. Accessed 2 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for waterwheel



English Language Learners Definition of waterwheel

: a usually large wooden or metal wheel that is turned by the force of water flowing against it


wa·​ter·​wheel | \ ˈwȯ-tər-ˌhwēl How to pronounce waterwheel (audio) , ˈwä-, -ˌwēl \

Kids Definition of waterwheel

: a wheel turned by a flow of water against it

More from Merriam-Webster on waterwheel

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about waterwheel


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