plural noun
wa·​ter·​works | \ ˈwȯ-tər-ˌwərks How to pronounce waterworks (audio) , ˈwä- \

Definition of waterworks

1 : the system of reservoirs, channels, mains, and pumping and purifying equipment by which a water supply is obtained and distributed (as to a city)
2 : an ornamental fountain or cascade
3 : the shedding of tears : tears

Examples of waterworks in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Even without a formal ceremony, this year's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductions still deliver some waterworks. Patrick Ryan, USA TODAY, "'If I talk too long, I'll cry': Whitney Houston's mom gets emotional during Rock Hall induction," 7 Nov. 2020 An 1895 photograph shows workers spraying a fire hose, demonstrating the water pressure in Clarke’s waterworks. Gary Kamiya, SFChronicle.com, "It’s one of S.F.’s strangest houses. Its history is stranger still," 31 Oct. 2020 Should the amendment pass, cities would be required to use industry standards for setting water rates, establish advisory boards with representation from users outside the city, and be barred from selling an interest in their waterworks. Brian Maffly, The Salt Lake Tribune, "How this proposed constitutional amendment — Amendment D — protects water users," 21 Oct. 2020 Starting with the first municipal waterworks in 1877, San Antonio moved away from using open sources of untreated water to artesian wells. Paula Allen, ExpressNews.com, "Fast-moving illness was 19th-century scourge," 5 June 2020 The park was once home to the city's waterworks and was the endpoint of a pipeline that carried water from the Verde River. azcentral, "Why a creaky, wooden pipeline once carried water to Phoenix residents," 5 Mar. 2020 As soon as Dre Butler finished writing his name on his National Letter of Intent to send to Auburn, the waterworks started. al, "Dre Butler signs with Auburn, accomplishes his mission," 23 Feb. 2020 Country singer Lauren Alaina and pro Gleb Savchenko The waterworks truly started with the last dance, the one-year anniversary of Alaina's beloved stepfather, Sam, dying of cancer at 47. Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY, "'Dancing With the Stars' recap: Eliminations resume as shocking cut leads to stars bawling," 22 Oct. 2019 About two sentences into his speech, Tipping Point Community founder Daniel Lurie let loose a few, brief waterworks Dec. 13 in the St. Regis ballroom. Catherine Bigelow, SFChronicle.com, "Tipping Point’s top men: Sam Cobbs and Daniel Lurie," 20 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'waterworks.' 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 waterworks

1621, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for waterworks

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The first known use of waterworks was in 1621

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Statistics for waterworks

Last Updated

10 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Waterworks.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/waterworks. Accessed 28 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for waterworks


How to pronounce waterworks (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of waterworks

: a system for supplying water to a city or town that includes pipes, pumps, etc.
British, informal + humorous : the parts of the body that produce urine : the urinary system


noun plural
wa·​ter·​works | \ ˈwȯ-tər-ˌwərks How to pronounce waterworks (audio) , ˈwä- \

Kids Definition of waterworks

: a system of dams, reservoirs, pumps, and pipes for supplying water (as to a city)

More from Merriam-Webster on waterworks

Nglish: Translation of waterworks for Spanish Speakers

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