• WordNet 3.6
    • n cistern an artificial reservoir for storing liquids; especially an underground tank for storing rainwater
    • n cistern a tank that holds the water used to flush a toilet
    • n cistern a sac or cavity containing fluid especially lymph or cerebrospinal fluid
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Cistern A natural reservoir; a hollow place containing water. "The wide cisterns of the lakes."
    • Cistern An artificial reservoir or tank for holding water, beer, or other liquids.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n cistern A natural or artificial receptacle or reservoir for holding or storing water or other fluid, most commonly consisting of mason-work sunk in the ground, but sometimes constructed of wood and placed on the tops of houses.
    • n cistern A vessel made of lead to hold a stock of water for household uses; also, one made of silver, copper, or other metal, to put bottles or glasses in.
    • n cistern The vessel inclosing the condenser of a condensing steamengine, and containing the injection-water.
    • n cistern The receptacle into which glass is ladled from the pots to be poured on the table in making plate-glass, or in casting glass; a cuvette.
    • n cistern In decorative art: A large vessel, generally of pottery or porcelain, shallow in proportion to its length and breadth, and usually oval in plan.
    • n cistern A tank or receptacle for water, usually hung upon the wall, and serving to give water, by a spigot or tap, for use in washing, etc.: often of faience or of copper, and a very decorative object. Compare fountain in this sense.
    • n cistern In anatomy, a reservoir or receptacle of some natural fluid of the body.
    • n cistern In mining, a tank in a deep shaft, serving an upper pump with water from a lower one.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Cistern sis′tėrn any receptacle for holding water or other liquid: a reservoir: in a steam-engine, the vessel surrounding the condenser.
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. cisterne, OF. cisterne, F. cisterne, fr. L. cisterna, fr. cista, box, chest. See Cist, and cf. chest
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
L. cisterna, from cista, a chest.


In literature:

At this the two trappers, leaving the party by the fire, betook themselves to the cistern.
"Wood Rangers" by Mayne Reid
E. Fountain, supplied perhaps by the water of the cistern.
"Museum of Antiquity" by L. W. Yaggy
They used, no doubt, buckets of water brought from the cisterns and the river.
"Harper's Young People, February 10, 1880" by Various
My first is in cistern, but not in well.
"Harper's Young People, March 2, 1880" by Various
He is perfectly safe and comfortable in that cistern.
"The Brass Bound Box" by Evelyn Raymond
Might as well camp in a cistern.
"The Trail of the Goldseekers" by Hamlin Garland
Water enters the cistern through a valve, which is opened and closed by a plug faced with rubber.
"How it Works" by Archibald Williams
He heard Molly's voice from the cistern, frightened, then storming in anger.
"Rimrock Trail" by J. Allan Dunn
The cistern had become empty.
"Bobby of Cloverfield Farm" by Helen Fuller Orton
He went to the cistern, and, after a cautious glance round the reassuring horizon, lifted the iron cover.
"The Boy Scouts Book of Stories" by Various
I clean cisterns, an' anything.
"The River Prophet" by Raymond S. Spears
On the south side of the church is a cistern, the roof of which rests on twenty-three columns crowned by beautiful Corinthian capitals.
"Byzantine Churches in Constantinople" by Alexander Van Millingen
There are constructed there reservoirs and cisterns, structures as remarkable as those which are seen at Kaschan.
"Les Parsis" by D. Menant
The supply of water was reduced to the cisterns and springs and the river.
"The Formation of Christendom, Volume VI" by Thomas W. (Thomas William) Allies
The Romans, like most rural folk along the river below Wheeling, chiefly drink cistern water.
"Afloat on the Ohio" by Reuben Gold Thwaites
There is a mystery about this ancient cistern on the side of the mountain.
"Out-of-Doors in the Holy Land" by Henry Van Dyke
Under the pavement of the cloister as well as under the Claustro dos Corvos is a great cistern.
"Portuguese Architecture" by Walter Crum Watson
Make ear deaf and say cistern all empty.
"The House Under the Sea" by Sir Max Pemberton
The cruse of his life was dry, the silver cord loosened, the pitcher broken at the fountain, the wheel broken at the cistern.
"In a Little Town" by Rupert Hughes
The water may be in an old tomato can, a rain barrel, a cistern, or a large pond.
"Health Lessons" by Alvin Davison

In poetry:

Those wand'ring cisterns in the sky,
Borne by the winds around
With wat'ry treasures well supply
The furrows of the ground.
"Psalm 65 part 2" by Isaac Watts
God from his cloudy cistern pours
On the parched earth enriching showers;
The grove, the garden, and the field,
A thousand joyful blessings yield.
"Psalm 104" by Isaac Watts
When the poor heart with anguish learns
That earthly props resigned must be,
And from each broken cistern turns,
It hears the accents, “Come to Me.”
"With tearful eyes I look around;" by Charlotte Elliott
There were trains that went in the tunnels
and never came out. The eyes of horses
focused and trotted to their deaths.
The corn slept in the cistern
and was rotted when it woke.
"Cipriana" by Ernesto Trejo
He holds the wire from this box of nerves
Praising the mortal error
Of birth and death, the two sad knaves of thieves,
And the hunger's emperor;
He pulls that chain, the cistern moves.
"My Hero Bares His Nerves" by Dylan Thomas
“Her women have wept for the love that is wasted
Like wine, which is spilt when the people are wanting,
And hot winds have dried all the cisterns of Elim!
For love that is wasted her women were wailing!
"Achan" by Henry Kendall

In news:

It was in the Negev Desert on an archaeological excavation when I first thought about building a cistern in my backyard.
Matt Mead's administration is pressing ahead with plans to install state-funded cisterns for residents east of Pavillion affected by poor drinking-water quality, possibly due to nearby energy development.
State water development director Mike Purcell said questions from residents about an offer to provide cisterns for clean water near Pavillion still need to be answered.
Four days of faint barking finally led neighbors to a dog trapped in an unused cistern under a house in southwestern Pennsylvania.
When the wet weather is over, these tanks — also known as cisterns — would open and release their water into the now-unburdened sewer system.
De Ruyter, who used to fight wildland fires on old farmland in eastern Washington, said he used to run across similarly built cisterns .
When the land converted to residential property, de Ruyter said the cisterns would be covered up with boards and dirt.
Over the years, the cisterns were forgotten.
Cisterns are ideal for farms and homesteads situated on waterless land, or for areas where the natural ground water is too hard—contains too many dissolved minerals—to drink, use for washing hair, etc.
Emma Tutton (University of Bradford) at the top of a cistern in the House of the Triclinium.
Water would have been drawn up through the head of the cistern using a bucket.
Trombone Shorty brought a taste of New Orleans to the Cistern for two steamy nights during Spoleto.
Beside the cistern is a pressure tank run by a small electric motor that pumps water through miles of PVC pipe to 18 concrete water troughs from American Steel spaced evenly throughout the property.
A 15,000-gallon cistern will collect rainwater for use in the building's toilets, White said.
A new light was placed in service on Sept 12, 1866, and a fog bell and cisterns were added in 1871.