[waw-ter-wurks, wot-er-]
noun, plural waterworks.
(used with a singular or plural verb) a complete system of reservoirs, pipelines, conduits, etc., by which water is collected, purified, stored, and pumped to urban users.
(used with a singular verb) a pumping station or a purifying station of such a system.
(usually used with a plural verb) . Sometimes, waterwork. a spectacular display of water, mechanically produced, as for a pageant.
(used with a singular or plural verb) Slang. tears, or the source of tears: to turn on the waterworks.
Slang. the kidneys.

1400–50; late Middle English; see water, works

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
waterworks (ˈwɔːtəˌwɜːks)
1.  (functioning as singular) an establishment for storing, purifying, and distributing water for community supply
2.  (functioning as plural) a display of water in movement, as in fountains
3.  informal, euphemistic (Brit) (functioning as plural) the urinary system, esp with reference to its normal functioning: he has trouble with his waterworks
4.  informal (functioning as plural) crying; tears

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