wa·​ter·​wheel ˈwȯ-tər-ˌ(h)wēl How to pronounce waterwheel (audio)
: a wheel made to rotate by direct action of water
: a wheel for raising water

Illustration of waterwheel

Illustration of waterwheel
  • waterwheel 1

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web This water-energy-food nexus goes back centuries—maybe even to the first waterwheels around 100 BCE, which affected fishing downstream. Noah Gordon, The New Republic, 29 Mar. 2023 The rustic building with a waterwheel sits in contrast to the neighboring art deco buildings, erected in the same decade. Dallas News, 29 Sep. 2022 As a simple mental picture, imagine a clock with gears connected to a waterwheel instead of a motor. Jonathon Keats, Discover Magazine, 8 Apr. 2021 Inside, a waterwheel dropped chalky white lime dust into the vermillion stream below. Eliza Griswold, The New Yorker, 26 Aug. 2022 There is a saltwater infinity pool, a hot tub and a koi pond with a waterwheel. Kathy Orton, Washington Post, 26 Aug. 2022 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 See More

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near waterwheel

Cite this Entry

“Waterwheel.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/waterwheel. Accessed 1 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


wa·​ter·​wheel -ˌhwēl How to pronounce waterwheel (audio)
: a wheel made to turn by a flow of water against it

More from Merriam-Webster on waterwheel

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