Fountainhead Definition & Meaning - Merriam-Webster

fountainhead

noun
foun·​tain·​head | \ ˈfau̇n-tᵊn-ˌhed How to pronounce fountainhead (audio) \

Definition of fountainhead

1 : a spring that is the source of a stream
2 : principal source : origin

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When it first entered English in the late 16th century, fountainhead was used only in a literal sense—to refer to the source of a stream. By the 17th century, however, it was already beginning to be used figuratively in reference to any original or primary source. In his 1854 work Walden, Henry David Thoreau used the word in its figurative sense, while paying full homage to its literal meaning as well: "Morning air! If men will not drink of this at the fountainhead of the day, why, then, we must even bottle up some and sell it in the shops, for the benefit of those who have lost their subscription ticket to morning time in this world."

Examples of fountainhead in a Sentence

the fountainhead of the faith historically, California has served as the fountainhead of that eclectic group of self-actualization movements known as the New Age
Recent Examples on the Web The fountainhead of the culture remains Whittier Boulevard in East Los Angeles, a place that is almost treated like a shrine for SoCal lowrider clubs. Los Angeles Times, 14 May 2021 The fountainhead for Chatwin’s and Herzog’s engrossing stories, of course, was their travels. Peter Gwin, National Geographic, 26 Aug. 2020 The ability to spend beyond its means has enabled the U.S. to fund its impressive military might, whether one views that power as the fountainhead of Pax Americana or the source of illegitimate military adventurism. Joshua Zoffer, The New Republic, 3 Feb. 2020 The fountainhead of historian Bill Katz’s immersion in African-American culture was his father’s passion for jazz. BostonGlobe.com, 27 Nov. 2019 Ownership passed down to the Sri Krishnabhoomi Trust, which is dominated by Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), an affiliate of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the ideological fountainhead of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Kuwar Singh, Quartz India, 9 Nov. 2019 The fountainhead of the historian Bill Katz’s immersion in African-American culture was his father’s passion for jazz. Sam Roberts, New York Times, 21 Nov. 2019 The North African nation on the Mediterranean Sea was the fountainhead of the 2011 Arab Spring protests, touched off by the self-immolation of a young fruit vendor. San Diego Union-Tribune, 29 Sep. 2019 The North African nation on the Mediterranean Sea was the fountainhead of the 2011 Arab Spring protests, touched off by the self-immolation of a young fruit vendor. Washington Post, 29 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fountainhead.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of fountainhead

1585, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for fountainhead

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The first known use of fountainhead was in 1585

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Dictionary Entries Near fountainhead

fountain grass

fountainhead

fountainless

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Last Updated

14 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

Fountainhead.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fountainhead. Accessed 17 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for fountainhead

fountainhead

noun

English Language Learners Definition of fountainhead

: the origin or source of something

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