See also: water melon


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From the 1610s, a compound of water +‎ melon. The meanings refering to environmentalists and behind schedule projects derive from the idea of having green (eco-friendly, on-schedule) outward-appearance while being red (socialist, behind schedule) in a hidden way comparable to that of the fruit.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈwɔːtəˌmɛlən/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈwɔtəɹˌmɛlən/
  • (file)


watermelon (countable and uncountable, plural watermelons)

  1. A plant of the species Citrullus lanatus, bearing a melon-like fruit.
  2. The fruit of the watermelon plant, having a green rind and watery flesh that is typically bright red when ripe and contains black pips.
  3. (derogatory, slang) An environmentalist with socialist leanings.
  4. A pinkish-red colour, like that of watermelon flesh (also called watermelon pink).
  5. A project that is presented as on schedule when it actually has parts that are falling behind.
    • 2011 August 8, Marc Löffler, “Watermelon Reporting”, in DZone[1], AnswerHub:
      The nuts and bolts of any project are transparency. If the project status is transparent, the watermelons can’t arise. If anybody is able to get the information, it will be difficult to hide something.
    • 2015 September 17, Ken Burrell, “Watch out for watermelons in project reports”, in LinkedIn[2]:
      As a PMO [project management officer], wherever I see watermelon reporting, I encourage the PM [project manager] to be brave and honest enough to ask for help.
    • 2021 April 24, Sumir Karayi, “Combatting the Watermelon Effect to Improve Digital Experience”, in CIO[3], IDG Communications:
      [see title]

Derived termsEdit