To keep one's head above water
Water Wa"ter (w[add]"t[~e]r), n. [AS. w[ae]ter; akin to OS. watar, OFries. wetir, weter, LG. & D. water, G. wasser, OHG. wazzar, Icel. vatn, Sw. vatten, Dan. vand, Goth. wat[=o], O. Slav. & Russ. voda, Gr. 'y`dwr, Skr. udan water, ud to wet, and perhaps to L. unda wave. [root]137. Cf. {Dropsy}, {Hydra}, {Otter}, {Wet}, {Whisky}.] 1. The fluid which descends from the clouds in rain, and which forms rivers, lakes, seas, etc. ``We will drink water.'' --Shak. ``Powers of fire, air, water, and earth.'' --Milton. [1913 Webster]

Note: Pure water consists of hydrogen and oxygen, {H2O}, and is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, transparent liquid, which is very slightly compressible. At its maximum density, 39[deg] Fahr. or 4[deg] C., it is the standard for specific gravities, one cubic centimeter weighing one gram. It freezes at 32[deg] Fahr. or 0[deg] C. and boils at 212[deg] Fahr. or 100[deg] C. (see {Ice}, {Steam}). It is the most important natural solvent, and is frequently impregnated with foreign matter which is mostly removed by distillation; hence, rain water is nearly pure. It is an important ingredient in the tissue of animals and plants, the human body containing about two thirds its weight of water. [1913 Webster]

2. A body of water, standing or flowing; a lake, river, or other collection of water. [1913 Webster]

Remembering he had passed over a small water a poor scholar when first coming to the university, he kneeled. --Fuller. [1913 Webster]

3. Any liquid secretion, humor, or the like, resembling water; esp., the urine. [1913 Webster]

4. (Pharm.) A solution in water of a gaseous or readily volatile substance; as, ammonia water. --U. S. Pharm. [1913 Webster]

5. The limpidity and luster of a precious stone, especially a diamond; as, a diamond of the first water, that is, perfectly pure and transparent. Hence, of the first water, that is, of the first excellence. [1913 Webster]

6. A wavy, lustrous pattern or decoration such as is imparted to linen, silk, metals, etc. See {Water}, v. t., 3, {Damask}, v. t., and {Damaskeen}. [1913 Webster]

7. An addition to the shares representing the capital of a stock company so that the aggregate par value of the shares is increased while their value for investment is diminished, or ``diluted.'' [Brokers' Cant] [1913 Webster]

Note: Water is often used adjectively and in the formation of many self-explaining compounds; as, water drainage; water gauge, or water-gauge; waterfowl, water-fowl, or water fowl; water-beaten; water-borne, water-circled, water-girdled, water-rocked, etc. [1913 Webster]

{Hard water}. See under {Hard}.

{Inch of water}, a unit of measure of quantity of water, being the quantity which will flow through an orifice one inch square, or a circular orifice one inch in diameter, in a vertical surface, under a stated constant head; also called {miner's inch}, and {water inch}. The shape of the orifice and the head vary in different localities. In the Western United States, for hydraulic mining, the standard aperture is square and the head from 4 to 9 inches above its center. In Europe, for experimental hydraulics, the orifice is usually round and the head from 1/2 of an inch to 1 inch above its top.

{Mineral water}, waters which are so impregnated with foreign ingredients, such as gaseous, sulphureous, and saline substances, as to give them medicinal properties, or a particular flavor or temperature.

{Soft water}, water not impregnated with lime or mineral salts.

{To hold water}. See under {Hold}, v. t.

{To keep one's head above water}, to keep afloat; fig., to avoid failure or sinking in the struggles of life. [Colloq.]

{To make water}. (a) To pass urine. --Swift. (b) (Naut.) To admit water; to leak.

{Water of crystallization} (Chem.), the water combined with many salts in their crystalline form. This water is loosely, but, nevertheless, chemically, combined, for it is held in fixed and definite amount for each substance containing it. Thus, while pure copper sulphate, {CuSO4}, is a white amorphous substance, blue vitriol, the crystallized form, {CuSO4.5H2O}, contains five molecules of water of crystallization.

{Water on the brain} (Med.), hydrocephalus.

{Water on the chest} (Med.), hydrothorax. [1913 Webster]

Note: Other phrases, in which water occurs as the first element, will be found in alphabetical order in the Vocabulary. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • keep one's head above water — {v. phr.} To remain solvent; manage to stay out of debt. * /Herb s income declined so drastically that he now has difficulty keeping his head above water./ …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • keep one's head above water — {v. phr.} To remain solvent; manage to stay out of debt. * /Herb s income declined so drastically that he now has difficulty keeping his head above water./ …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • keep one's head above water — see under ↑water • • • Main Entry: ↑head keep one s head above water To remain out of difficulty or trouble, esp to keep solvent • • • Main Entry: ↑water * * * avoid succumbing to difficulties, typically debt …   Useful english dictionary

  • keep one's head above water — ► keep one s head above water avoid succumbing to difficulties. Main Entry: ↑head …   English terms dictionary

  • keep one's head above water, — idi keep one s head above water, to stay out of financial difficulties …   From formal English to slang

  • keep one's head above water — verb To survive or endure, especially in a situation in which one is struggling to avoid being overwhelmed by adverse financial circumstances. Blessed be God that ministreth ever some comfort to sweeten the calamities of life, and to keep the… …   Wiktionary

  • keep one's head above water — have the ability to pay one s bills He is having trouble keeping his head above water since his salary has decreased …   Idioms and examples

  • keep\ one's\ head\ above\ water — v. phr. To remain solvent; manage to stay out of debt. Herb s income declined so drastically that he now has difficulty keeping his head above water …   Словарь американских идиом

  • keep one's head above water — avoid succumbing to difficulties. → head …   English new terms dictionary

  • keep one's head above water —  Manage to survive in difficult circumstances …   A concise dictionary of English slang

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