Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A fertile or green spot in a desert or wasteland, made so by the presence of water.
  • n. A situation or place preserved from surrounding unpleasantness; a refuge: an oasis of serenity amid chaos.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A spring of fresh water, surrounded by a fertile region of vegetation, in a desert.
  • n. A quiet, peaceful place or situation separated from surrounding noise or bustle.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A fertile or green spot in a waste or desert, esp. in a sandy desert, where the water table approaches the surface.
  • n. Any refuge from a prevailing stressful, unpleasant, or annoying situation.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Originally, a fertile spot in the Libyan desert where there is a spring or well and more or loss vegetation; now, any fertile tract in the midst of a waste: often used figuratively.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a shelter serving as a place of safety or sanctuary
  • n. a fertile tract in a desert (where the water table approaches the surface)

Etymologies

From Late Latin Oasis, an oasis in the Libyan desert, from Greek, from Coptic ouahe, from Egyptian wḥ't.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Ancient Greek ὄασις (óasis), from Demotic wḥỉ, from Egyptian (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • “This is what you call an oasis,” said Tam Lin, throwing down his pack and taking out food for the picnic.

    House Of The Scorpion

  • Inside his brick townhouse, where he composes, Glass says he has created what he calls an "oasis of tranquility."

    News

  • For Frankie Rosa, 22, who grew up in East Boston, the possibility of staying at what he describes as my oasis'' at Bridge Over Troubled Waters would be a big improvement over the city shelters where he bunks at night.

    Boston.com Top Stories

  • Plus Key West: still the gay and lesbian oasis is also in her district.

    Think Progress » Obama Publicly Condemns Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Legislation: It Is An ‘Odious’ Bill

  • But what strikes me about all of this tumult here in our little Hollywood oasis is that for me it was actual life happening, actual community.

    Stephen Gyllenhaal: Music of the Spheres

  • This green oasis is not typical for the architecture in Brazil, but resembles that which you can find in the Scandinavian countries. - via DagenDesign

    Villa Rahoj Alle in Hojbjerg, Denmark

  • The oasis is also within Bangkok's best shopping district.

    Asia's Top Spas

  • From the polished concrete floors and two story vaulted ceiling and window walls in the open concept living area, Carrera marble counters and top of the line stainless appliances in the gourmet kitchen, twin master suites with full baths, no expense has been spared to make this home an aestheitic oasis from the ordinary.

    House on Bainbridge Island, Washington

  • I suppose you could say I was a tiny bit sad yesterday when I found out that my little oasis is being ripped up and is going to be replaced by a 103 story, 7000 unit condominium complex.

    Archive 2007-05-01

  • Your beautiful oasis is something I use to learn and to keep me awake regarding the issues you like to write about.

    not subject to debate

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Comments

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  • wt' in Western Semitic means 'save, help, or deliver' though. I wonder if w'th and wt' have a common root. They appear to have a common meaning!

    January 21, 2013

  • wḥ't on earth is that last bit of etymology?

    January 21, 2013