Stories We Like: Novels For Language Lovers
early 15c., "spring of water that collects in a pool," from Old French fontaine "natural spring" (12c.), from Late Latin fontana "fountain, spring" (source of Spanish and Italian fontana), from noun use of fem. of Latin fontanus "of a spring," from fons (genitive fontis) "spring (of water);" cognate with Sanskrit dhanvati "flows, runs."
The extended sense of "artificial jet of water" (and the structures that make them) is first recorded c.1500. "A French fountain-pen is described in 1658 and Miss Burney used one in 1789" [Weekley].
(Heb. 'ain; i.e., "eye" of the water desert), a natural source of living water. Palestine was a "land of brooks of water, of fountains, and depths that spring out of valleys and hills" (Deut. 8:7; 11:11). These fountains, bright sparkling "eyes" of the desert, are remarkable for their abundance and their beauty, especially on the west of Jordan. All the perennial rivers and streams of the country are supplied from fountains, and depend comparatively little on surface water. "Palestine is a country of mountains and hills, and it abounds in fountains of water. The murmur of these waters is heard in every dell, and the luxuriant foliage which surrounds them is seen in every plain." Besides its rain-water, its cisterns and fountains, Jerusalem had also an abundant supply of water in the magnificent reservoir called "Solomon's Pools" (q.v.), at the head of the Urtas valley, whence it was conveyed to the city by subterrean channels some 10 miles in length. These have all been long ago destroyed, so that no water from the "Pools" now reaches Jerusalem. Only one fountain has been discovered at Jerusalem, the so-called "Virgins's Fountains," in the valley of Kidron; and only one well (Heb. beer), the Bir Eyub, also in the valley of Kidron, south of the King's Gardens, which has been dug through the solid rock. The inhabitants of Jerusalem are now mainly dependent on the winter rains, which they store in cisterns. (See WELL.)