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[waw-ter-spout, wot-er-] /ˈwɔ tərˌspaʊt, ˈwɒt ər-/
Also called rainspout. a pipe running down the side of a house or other building to carry away water from the gutter of the roof.
a spout, duct, or the like, from which water is discharged.
a funnel-shaped or tubular portion of a cloud over the ocean or other body of water that, laden with mist and spray, resembles a solid column of water reaching upward to the cloud from which it hangs.
Compare tornado (def 1).
Origin of waterspout
1350-1400; 1730-40 for def 3; Middle English; see water, spout Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for waterspout
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The officers on the bridge were looking after the waterspout, and very carefully at that.

  • They say to hit the waterspout in the centre where it joins the other from below will disperse it.

    Standish of Standish Jane G. Austin
  • Queer he wouldnt even come up on deck to see the waterspout, mused our hero.

    Tom Fairfield at Sea Allen Chapman
  • Look, if there are not a number of dead fish which the waterspout must have sucked up.

    Picked up at Sea J.C. Hutcheson
  • The river suddenly rose in several places, in the form of a waterspout, and came dashing over the crowd.

    Uncle Joe's Stories Edward Hugessen Knatchbull-Hugesson, First Baron Brabourne
  • The rain dripped from his coat; he was deluged, a waterspout.

  • The ship was lowered about a hundred feet away from the waterspout.

British Dictionary definitions for waterspout


  1. a tornado occurring over water that forms a column of water and mist extending between the surface and the clouds above
  2. a sudden downpour of heavy rain
a pipe or channel through which water is discharged, esp one used for drainage from the gutters of a roof
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for waterspout

late 14c., "drainpipe," from water (n.1) + spout (n.). Meaning "whirlwind on open water" is recorded from 1738.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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