cesspools

cesspool

[ses-pool]
noun
1.
a cistern, well, or pit for retaining the sediment of a drain or for receiving the sewage from a house.
2.
any filthy receptacle or place.
3.
any place of moral filth or immorality: a cesspool of iniquity.

Origin:
1575–85; cess (< Italian cesso privy < Latin rēcessus recess, place of retirement) + pool1

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World English Dictionary
cesspool or cesspit (ˈsɛsˌpuːl, ˈsɛsˌpɪt)
 
n
1.  sink, Also called: sump a covered cistern, etc, for collecting and storing sewage or waste water
2.  a filthy or corrupt place: a cesspool of iniquity
 
[C17: changed (through influence of pool1) from earlier cesperalle, from Old French souspirail vent, air, from soupirer to sigh; see suspire]
 
cesspit or cesspit
 
n
 
[C17: changed (through influence of pool1) from earlier cesperalle, from Old French souspirail vent, air, from soupirer to sigh; see suspire]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

cesspool
1671, the first element perhaps an alteration of cistern (q.v.); or the whole may be an alteration of suspiral (c.1400), "drainpipe," from O.Fr. souspirail "a vent, air hole," from souspirer "breathe," from L. suspirare "breathe deep." Meaning extended to "tank at the end of the pipe," which led to folk
etymology change in final syllable. Other possible etymologies: It. cesso "privy," from L. secessus "place of retirement" (in L.L. "privy, drain"); dial. suspool, from suss, soss "puddle;" or cess "a bog on the banks of a tidal river."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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