Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A natural hot spring that intermittently ejects a column of water and steam into the air.
  • noun Chiefly British A gas-operated hot-water heater.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A gas-burning apparatus attached to a bath for the purpose of heating water for the bath.
  • noun A spouting hot spring; a hot spring which projects water, either periodically or irregularly, to some height in the air.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A boiling spring which throws forth at frequent intervals jets of water, mud, etc., driven up by the expansive power of steam.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun planetology, geology, volcanology A boiling natural spring which throws forth at frequent intervals jets of water, mud etc., driven up by the expansive power of steam.
  • noun UK, archaic An instantaneous, and often dangerous, hot water heater using hot steam.
  • noun South Africa A domestic water boiler.

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

  • noun a spring that discharges hot water and steam
  • verb to overflow like a geyser

Etymologies

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

[After Icelandic Geysir, name of a hot spring of southwest Iceland, from geysa, to gush, from Old Norse; see gheu- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From around 1755-1765, from the Icelandic proper name Geysir, which means and is the name of a hot spring in Iceland (Geysir’s English Wikipedia article). The word geysir literally means gusher, derived from the Icelandic verb geysa ("to gush"), descended from Old Norse geysa ("to gush").

Examples

Comments

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  • It's been proposed that may be the only English word to have been imported from Icelandic. Can anyone think of any others?

    April 16, 2010

  • From the United States Geological Survey's Glossary of Glacier Terminology: jökulhlaup - Icelandic word meaning "a glacier outburst flood resulting from the failure of a glacier-ice-dam, glacier-sediment-dam, or from the melting of glacier ice by a volcanic eruption."

    April 17, 2010

  • How about maedi, a viral disease of sheep.

    April 17, 2010

  • All my sheep are grounded due to volcanic ash cloud :-(

    April 17, 2010

  • I was tempted to complain about those two examples, mostly because I've never heard of either of them before. They seem to belong more to a sort of technical jargon than 'proper English'. I mean, everybody knows what a geyser is.

    On further thoughts, I decided that writing up a rant wasn't worth it. But there you have it, my rant unranted...

    April 19, 2010