Definition of waterwork

  1. 1 :  something (as a tank, dock, canal lock, levee, or seawall) built in, for, or as a protection against water

  2. 2 :  a mechanism, contrivance, or set of equipment for handling water: such as a :  an ornamental or spectacular display of water mechanically produced :  fountain, cascade —usually used in plural b (1) obsolete :  a mechanical contrivance for raising and distributing water (2) waterworks plural :  the whole system of resevoirs, channels, mains, and pumping and purifying equipment by which a water supply is obtained and distributed to consumers; also :  a pumping or purifying station of such a system c waterworks plural (1) :  the channels by which sap or other vital fluid is handled in the living body the complex waterworks of a tree (2) slang :  kidneys

  3. 3 waterworks plural :  tears or the shedding of tears

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Origin and Etymology of waterwork

Middle English waterwerk, from water + werk, wurk, work work — more at work

First Known Use: 15th century

Seen and Heard

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a brief usually trivial fact

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