Definition of weir in US English:



  • 1A low dam built across a river to raise the level of water upstream or regulate its flow.

    • ‘‘It's such a pity, that with the whole nation short of power, the water is simply flowing over the weir,’ he says.’
    • ‘Cllr Clarke welcomed the development and said a walkway across the river at the weirs would be a great attraction.’
    • ‘Upstream of the weir the River Wharfe was glassy smooth with rising trout and cruising ducks, down river the water boiled amongst the smooth white rocks.’
    • ‘Through the extensive studies done in the area we know that raising the weir is the only way to go.’
    • ‘The Environment Agency is to set out its long-term plans for a variety of rivers, weirs and brooks across the north west.’
    • ‘Follow the river upstream from the weir for about two hundred yards and you will come to a clearing.’
    • ‘Three of four weirs in the river broke, and an influx of sand has left water depths of only two to four inches.’
    • ‘Mixed news from the Galway Fishery this week, as 13 open gates on the weir meant winter levels in the river.’
    • ‘The Derwent at Sutton is also worth a visit, with plenty of roach showing in the deeper water upstream of the weir.’
    • ‘When levels are low, a weir prevents water from leaving the lake.’
    • ‘King Alfred the Great is said to have responded by building weirs and embankments on the river to lower the water-level, so stranding the Danish fleet upstream.’
    • ‘A weir is a dam placed across a river to raise or divert the water, or a fence in a stream to catch or retain fish.’
    • ‘If water levels in the river drop, the weirs will be dismantled, he added.’
    • ‘Reduced river flows, brought about by the construction of dams, weirs and water diversions, compound the problem.’
    • ‘Set in idyllic surroundings, with the sound of the Barrow flowing gently over the weir in the background, the studio is the perfect location for an artist.’
    • ‘After considering a voluntary program last week, the decision to impose tougher restrictions was made on Monday because the flow over the weir had ceased.’
    • ‘Sometimes on an exceptionally high tide the water flows over the weir causing a tidal effect as far up as Kingston.’
    dam, barrier, dyke, defence, embankment, wall, obstruction, gate, sluice
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 An enclosure of stakes set in a stream as a trap for fish.
      • ‘Fish, especially Arctic char were caught in weirs and traps and taken using fish spears.’
      • ‘The effectiveness of fish weirs was well known throughout Europe.’
      • ‘Seines at least collected less mud and debris than weirs and staked gill nets.’
      • ‘Trouble began in the spring of 1816 when Judge Cooper built a weir, a fish trap, across the St. Jones River to catch migrating shad and herring.’
      • ‘Men are responsible for line and weir fishing, hunting, gardening, and the felling of trees.’
      • ‘Unlike gill nets, fish weirs were permanent structures that essentially allowed one man to ‘fish’ twenty-four hours a day.’
      • ‘Fishermen use weirs, traps, gill nets, and dip nets for alewives, which they consider one of the easiest fish to catch.’
      • ‘Surprisingly, evidence of stone and willow fish weirs, which bridged estuaries and bays as far afield as western Europe and northern American, can still be found.’
      • ‘Evolving technologies have included aboriginal spears, nets, and weirs and European purse seines.’


Old English wer, from werian ‘dam up’.