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Goðafoss, a waterfall in Iceland


From Middle English waterfal, waterfalle, from Old English wæterġefeall (waterfall), equivalent to water +‎ fall. Cognate with West Frisian wetterfal (waterfall), Dutch waterval (waterfall), German Wasserfall (waterfall), Swedish vattenfall (waterfall).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈwɔːtəfɔːl/
  • (US) enPR: wôʹtər-fôl, IPA(key): /ˈwɔtɚfɔl/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɔːl
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waterfall (plural waterfalls)

  1. a flow of water over the edge of a cliff.
    Synonyms: cataract, cascade
  2. (figuratively) A waterfall-like outpouring of liquid, smoke, etc.
    A waterfall of mist came from the open freezer.
  3. (technical, computing, slang) Waterfall model
    A very long duration project [] had taken a whole group of people through a painful waterfall development process.
  4. (slang, US) The action of drinking from a vessel without touching it with the lips, considered more sanitary for a shared vessel.
    Hey man, can I take a waterfall from your bottle?
  5. (colloquial, dated) A necktie.
  6. (colloquial, dated) A chignon.
  7. (colloquial, dated) A beard.
    I found home a dreary place after my long absence; for half the children I had known were now wearing whiskers or waterfalls... (Mark Twain, Roughing It)


Derived termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


waterfall (third-person singular simple present waterfalls, present participle waterfalling, simple past and past participle waterfalled)

  1. (intransitive) To fall like a waterfall.
    • 1994, Nora Roberts, Private Scandals, page 54:
      Rain ran off the bill of his fielder's cap and waterfalled in front of his face.
    • 1999, Jane Yolen; Bruce Coville, Armageddon Summer, page 79:
      Zondra, whose dirty-blond hair waterfalled above her head from a colorful tie, gave a snorting, horsey kind of laugh.
    • 2008, John Gardner, No Human Enemy, page 156:
      they turned into the drive of The Manor with its red-brick front and the wonderful cloak of Virginia creeper waterfalling down between the windows.
  2. (transitive) To drink (something) from a container by pouring it from a height so as not to touch one's lips to the rim.

Derived termsEdit

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