fountain, noun

Dutch, English, South African English, AfrikaansShow more Calque formed on Dutch fontein spring. Formerly used in general English, but now archaic: the word’s continued and habitual use in this sense in South African English is reinforced by Afrikaans fontein.
A natural spring or water source; fontein sense 1 a. Also attributive. See also eye.
1789 W. Paterson Narr. of Four Journeys 55The water, by standing a few hours in the rocks, became similar in its qualities to that of the fountain.
1789 W. Paterson Narr. of Four Journeys 59In the evening we arrived at a small fountain where we had hardly water enough to suffice us and our cattle.
1798 S.H. Wilcocke tr. of J.S. Stavorinus’s Voy. to E. Indies I. 39Refreshed ourselves with a draught of the clear fountain-water.
1802 W. Somerville Narr. of E. Cape Frontier (1979) 67The partridge fountain (so called from the multitudes of Namaqua partridges that frequent it to drink the brine).
1824 W.J. Burchell Trav. II. 307We passed a fountain of clear water, in which stood a few reeds. This fountain or spring, though not copious enough to produce a stream, formed a small pond which had the appearance of being constantly supplied with water.
1827 G. Thompson Trav. 118Though somewhat disturbed by the wild animals assembling at the fountain to drink, we were left unmolested.
1834 E. Cook in B. Shaw Memorials (1841) 170The spot on which we met was near to a fountain of water, and was shaded by a camel-thorn tree; two of the most important things which this barren country produces.
1841 B. Shaw Memorials 102The Fountain appears to be of considerable strength: but the water is somewhat sweet, yet good for use.
1857 D. Livingstone Missionary Trav. 110Mr Moffat..made a dam..and led out the stream for irrigation, where not a drop of fountain-water ever now flows.
1867 Blue Bk for Col. 1866 JJ5The scarcity of water on many farms is still felt; but the farmers are busy in making dams, and some fountains have been opened.
1882 J. Nixon Among Boers 139The garden was irrigated from a fountain of beautiful water near the house.
1882 Meteor 31 Oct. 3In spring, when the rains have replenished every fountain, innumerable tiny cascades are trickling from the picturesque hills.
1890 A. Martin Home Life 77It would be necessary to choose a farm possessing a good fountain; thus a constant supply of vegetables could be kept up.
1916 Farmer’s Weekly 20 Dec. 1455 (advt)Abundant water supply, consisting of a large dam, permanent fountain, and a spruit running through the farm.
1936 Cambridge Hist. of Brit. Empire VIII. 9There is..little doubt that the flow of the rivers has become more irregular, that many ‘fountains’ have dried up, and that the vegetation in different regions has deteriorated.
1961 T.V. Bulpin White Whirlwind 194Mbuzimbili..lived close to an isolated fountain at which enormous flocks of guinea-fowl habitually came to drink.
1975 Friend 1 Aug. 1The worst floods in the history of the..Northern Cape have been caused by the eruption of natural fountains.
1987 Style July 104He found a fountain just below..the old post office tree...The surroundings of the early fountain are being restored so that the water will flow into an informal pool.
1991 J. Winter tr. of P. Pieterse’s Shadow of Eagle 66Their best chance was to follow the dry river-bed in the hope of reaching an underground spring or fountain forced up through the rocky ground.
A natural spring or water source; fontein1 a. Also attributive.
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