Definition of fountain in US English:



  • 1An ornamental structure in a pool or lake from which one or more jets of water are pumped into the air.

    • ‘I am perched on an old stone fountain surrounded by red flowers when the phone rings.’
    • ‘However, the large stone fountain in front was still running, shooting water from three different places.’
    • ‘A white marble fountain was rooted in the middle of wide white marble stairs leading to the second story.’
    • ‘According to the plan, the water supply to fountains, swimming pools or for street cleaning was cut.’
    • ‘And the fountains burbling in the background are very soothing.’
    • ‘There were floating candles that decorated the pool and the fountain, as well as ornamental flowers arrangements.’
    • ‘Non-living structures include equipment, statues, urns, fountains and pools of water.’
    • ‘He noticed the large water fountain in the middle and felt a little vengeful.’
    • ‘A small fountain, a pool of water or a miniature waterfall adds to the charm of rock gardens.’
    • ‘The musical dancing fountain offers a synchronised rhythmic ballet of water, sound and lights.’
    • ‘Soon, Talia saw a beautiful marble fountain with water shooting up from its top and then splashing back down.’
    • ‘The main facade will feature a curving glass wall that encloses the cafe, and a ‘wall of water’ created by rectangular pools with pencil-jet fountains.’
    • ‘A timed fountain gushes water in changing patterns; it looks almost as though the water were dancing.’
    • ‘There was a large water fountain in the middle.’
    • ‘He rested five feet away on a bench surrounding a stone fountain, a cigarette held limp within two fingers.’
    • ‘He sat by the fountain in the garden in the center of the school.’
    • ‘We soon came to a large village square with a beautiful fountain in the center.’
    • ‘In the centre, an ornamental pond displays more fountains and more light, water reflecting off water to create an infinite array of mirror image distortion.’
    • ‘There was a huge circular fountain in front of it.’
    • ‘The enjoyment of water was evident in garden grottoes and nymphae structures in which fountains, cascades and pools were choreographed to create an appropriately sybaritic milieu.’
    jet, spray, spout, spurt, well, fount, cascade
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A thing that spurts or cascades into the air.
      ‘little fountains of dust’
      • ‘The poker circled slowly, sending up fountains of sparks.’
      • ‘A fountain of sparks spurted up, falling in a shower around the boy, bent over in concentration.’
      • ‘The fire adjusted itself with a crash, sending up a fountain of sparks.’
      • ‘It seemed as if fountains of dust were pouring from the sky, falling gently, flickering in the sunlight.’
  • 2literary A natural spring of water.

    • ‘The fountains and water channels will spring to life.’
    • ‘In this tiny, narrow gorge, under the cool shade of the palms, a fountain of hot spring water feeds a warm, thigh-deep pool, where inch-long fish nibble my feet.’
    • ‘The mineral water of the numerous fountains, natural springs and wells, have an almost uniform chemical composition, temperature and sulphide content.’
    • ‘A gravel road, along the course of which there are many fountains and springs, leads after a journey of about one and a half to two hours to Haydushki Polyani, noted for its dam, and in season, meadows of flowers.’
    • ‘Along the way they stopped at a fountain and drank some spring water.’
    1. 2.1 A source of a desirable quality.
      ‘the government always quotes this report as the fountain of truth’
      • ‘We need to start the fountain of truth before we all die of thirst.’
      • ‘From attitude and ambition springs forth a fountain of possibility.’
      • ‘Therefore, consumers should not expect to find a fountain of youth in a jar.’
      • ‘If he finds the fountain of youth, the Spurs have a shot.’
      • ‘To him, water seemed like a fountain of knowledge and a symbol of life.’
      source, fount, fountainhead, well head, wellspring, well
      View synonyms


[no object]
  • Spurt or cascade like a fountain.

    ‘an enormous curtain of lava fountained into the sky’
    • ‘This was followed, between 9 May and 13 July, by 15 episodes of lava fountaining, which were essentially a repetition of those of the preceding year.’
    • ‘The fountaining is randomly cyclical with a period of several minutes between eruptions.’
    • ‘The blast of high explosive sent a cloud of dust fountaining into the air.’
    • ‘Masonry blocks and flaming wood fountained out and choking smoke poured down the corridor, fire swirling in its wake.’
    • ‘Lava fountaining up to 120 m in height has built a large cone approximately 50 m high and 500 m in diameter.’
    • ‘During the night of 16-17 July, the sixteenth episode of lava fountaining occurred at the SE Crater, accompanied by the emission of a minor lava flow.’
    • ‘Lava fountaining has given place to sporadic strombolian activity at the row of the upper vents.’
    • ‘Volcanic bombs were thrown hundreds of meters above the crater prior to and during the fountaining.’
    • ‘Water, gallons and gallons of it, was still bubbling and fountaining up and around him.’
    spurt, shoot, spray, spritz, fountain, jet, erupt
    View synonyms


Middle English (in fountain (sense 2 of the noun)): from Old French fontaine, from late Latin fontana, feminine of Latin fontanus, adjective from fons, font- ‘a spring’.