cesspool

\ \ [17] Cesspool has no direct etymological connection with pool. It comes from Old French suspirailventilator, breathing hole’, a derivative of souspirerbreathe’ (this goes back to Latin suspīrāre, source of the archaic English suspiresigh’). This was borrowed into English in the early 15th century as suspiraldrainpipe’, which in the subsequent two hundred years appeared in a variety of spellings, including cesperalle. By the early 16th century we find evidence of its being used not just for a pipe to drain matter away, but also for a well or tank to receive matter thus drained (originally any effluent, not just sewage). The way was thus open for a ‘reinterpretation’ of the word’s final element as pool (by the process known as folk etymology), and in the late 17th century the form cesspool emerged. By analogy, as if there were really a word cesssewage’, the term cesspit was coined in the mid-19th century.
\ \ Cf.SUSPIRE

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Cesspool — Cess pool ( p[=oo]l ), n. [See {Sesspol}.] A cistern in the course, or the termination, of a drain, to collect sedimentary or superfluous matter; a privy vault; any receptacle of filth. [Written also {sesspool}.] [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • cesspool — 1670s, the first element perhaps an alteration of CISTERN (Cf. cistern), perhaps an aphetic form of RECESS (Cf. recess); or the whole may be an alteration of suspiral (c.1400), drainpipe, from O.Fr. sospiral a vent, air hole, from sospirer… …   Etymology dictionary

  • cesspool — ► NOUN ▪ an underground container for the temporary storage of liquid waste and sewage. ORIGIN probably from archaic suspiral «vent, water pipe, settling tank», from Old French souspirail air hole …   English terms dictionary

  • cesspool — [ses′po͞ol΄] n. [< ? It cesso, privy < L secessus, place of retirement (in LL, privy, drain): see SECEDE] 1. a deep hole or pit in the ground, usually covered, to receive drainage or sewage from the sinks, toilets, etc. of a house 2. a… …   English World dictionary

  • cesspool — [17] Cesspool has no direct etymological connection with pool. It comes from Old French suspirail ‘ventilator, breathing hole’, a derivative of souspirer ‘breathe’ (this goes back to Latin suspīrāre, source of the archaic English suspire ‘sigh’) …   The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins

  • cesspool — UK [ˈsesˌpuːl] / US [ˈsesˌpul] noun [countable] Word forms cesspool : singular cesspool plural cesspools a cesspit …   English dictionary

  • cesspool — noun Etymology: perhaps by folk etymology from Middle English suspiral vent, tap on a main pipe, settling pool, from Anglo French, suspirale vent, from suspirer to sigh, exhale, from Latin suspirare, literally, to draw a long breath more at… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • cesspool — /ses poohl /, n. 1. a cistern, well, or pit for retaining the sediment of a drain or for receiving the sewage from a house. 2. any filthy receptacle or place. 3. any place of moral filth or immorality: a cesspool of iniquity. [1575 85; cess ( <… …   Universalium

  • cesspool — [[t]se̱spuːl[/t]] cesspools N COUNT A cesspool is the same as a cesspit …   English dictionary

  • cesspool — /ˈsɛspul / (say sespoohl) noun 1. a cistern, well, or pit for retaining the sediment of a drain or for receiving waste from a sewerage system, etc. 2. any filthy receptacle or place: a cesspool of iniquity. {alteration of cesperalle, from Old… …   Australian English dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.