1. ait; island, from Old English g, eg, island, from Germanic *auj, “thing on the water,” from *agwj.
  2. aqua, aquarelle, aquarium, aquatic, aqui-, ewer, gouache; aquamarine, aquatint, aquavit, aqueduct, sewer1, from Latin aqua, water. (Pokorny ak- 23.)

(Segovia aqueduct alley)


O.E. wæter,

  • from P.Gmc. *watar (cf. O.S. watar, O.Fris. wetir, Du. water, O.H.G. wazzar, Ger. Wasser, O.N. vatn, Goth. wato "water"),
  • from PIE *wodor/*wedor/*uder-, from root *wed- (cf. Hittite watar, Skt. udnah, Gk. hydor, O.C.S., Rus. voda, Lith. vanduo, O.Prus. wundan, Gael. uisge "water;" L. unda "wave").
  • Linguists believe PIE had two root words for water: *ap- and *wed-. The first (preserved in Skt. apah) was "animate," referring to water as a living force; the latter referred to it as an inanimate substance. The same was probably true of fire (n.).
  • To keep (one's) head above water in the fig. sense is recorded from 1742. Water cooler is recorded from 1846; water polo from 1884; water torture from 1928. First record of water-closet is from 1755. Water-ice as a confection is from 1818. Watering-place is 1440, of animals, 1757, of persons. Water-lily first attested 1549. Waterfront is attested from 1856.