Last modified on 3 May 2014, at 22:07


Water, water, everywhere; Nor any drop to drink. ~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Stones are hollowed out by the constant dropping of water. ~ Ovid

Water is a common chemical substance, that is essential to all known forms of life. In typical usage water refers only to its liquid form or state, but the substance also has the solid state, ice, and gaseous state, water vapor. Water covers 71% of Earth's surface as well as below ground in aquifers and in the air as vapor, clouds, and precipitation.


Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it: thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God, which is full of water: thou preparest them corn, when thou hast so provided for it. - Psalms 65:9
  • The winds, the sea, and the moving tides are what they are. If there is wonder and beauty and majesty in them, science will discover these qualities. If they are not there, science cannot create them. If there is poetry in my book about the sea, it is not because I deliberately put it there, but because no one could write truthfully about the sea and leave out the poetry.
    • Acceptance speech of the National Book Award for Nonfiction (1952); also in Lost Woods : The Discovered Writing of Rachel Carson (1999) edited by Linda Lear, p. 91.
  • All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.
  • I do not know much about gods; but I think that the river
    Is a strong brown god
    —sullen, untamed and intractable,
    Patient to some degree, at first recognised as a frontier;
    Useful, untrustworthy, as a conveyor of commerce;
    Then only a problem confronting the builder of bridges. (I)
  • Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it: thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God, which is full of water: thou preparest them corn, when thou hast so provided for it.
  • Water is a very good servant, but it is a cruell maister.
  • Don't get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup; You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle; You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.
    • Bruce Lee as quoted in Bruce Lee : A Warrior's Journey (2000)
Water is a very good servant, but it is a cruell maister. ~ William Bullein
Thousands have lived without love, not one without water. ~ W. H. Auden
There is nothing softer and weaker than water,
And yet there is nothing better for attacking hard and strong things.
For this reason there is no substitute for it. ~ Laozi
  • Take almost any path you please, and ten to one it carries you down in a dale, and leaves you there by a pool in the stream. There is magic in it. Let the most absent-minded of men be plunged in his deepest reveries — stand that man on his legs, set his feet a-going, and he will infallibly lead you to water, if water there be in all that region. Should you ever be athirst in the great American desert, try this experiment, if your caravan happen to be supplied with a metaphysical professor. Yes, as every one knows, meditation and water are wedded forever.
  • 天下莫柔弱於水。而攻堅強者、莫之能勝。以其無以易之。(Original: Chinese)
    • Translation: There is nothing softer and weaker than water,
      And yet there is nothing better for attacking hard and strong things.
      For this reason there is no substitute for it.
    • Laozi, Tao te Ching, Ch. 78.
  • Water, water, every where,
    And all the boards did shrink;
    Water, water, every where,
    Nor any drop to drink.
  • And all the air is filled with pleasant noise of waters.
  • Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.
  • Access to a secure, safe and sufficient source of fresh water is a fundamental requirement for the survival, well-being and socio-economic development of all humanity. Yet, we continue to act as if fresh water were a perpetually abundant resource. It is not.
    • Kofi Annan, Is the World Running Out of Water?, Awake! magazine, June 22, 2001.
  • The challenge of securing safe and plentiful water for all is one of the most daunting challenges faced by the world today. . . . Too often, where we need water we find guns.
    • Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General. Awake! magazine, November 8, 2008; Watching the World.
  • Mr. Toastmaster, Gentlemen: I feel highly honored indeed to be one of the chosen to say a few words this evening. I am requested to respond to the toast: "Water, the purest and most wonderful thing that was ever created." You, as well as I, have seen it glistening in small globular teardrops on the eyelids of troubled sweethearts and peevish infants, as well as go rushing in torrents down the wrinkled cheeks of the aged ones. And in the early morning I have seen it glistening and sparkling like so many diamonds on the grass blades and the flowers. I have seen it rushing like some wild thing down the rapids of the river, only to flow quietly and lazily where the river widens. I have heard it roar and rumble as it dashed down some steep precipice. And what I have seen—I have seen—Gentlemen, what I want to say is, that as a beverage, it's a failure.
    • Author unknown; reported in Arthur Leroy Kaser, Good Toasts and Funny Stories (1923), p. 98. This quotation was submitted to the Queries column of The New York Times Book Review in 1971. One response to the query attributed this toast to a Colonel Bob Maxe at an annual dinner of the Bar Association of North Arkansas. The wording varied, and the attribution has not been verified in a published source. A more succinct version found its way into Congressional Research Service files: "Gentlemen—I have seen water in all of its majesty, pouring in torrents over great falls, rushing madly through deep gorges, and tossing wildly as waves of the oceans. I have seen it in the frozen stillness of a winter pond, in the flower-like crystals of snow flakes. I have seen it as the soft morning dew, and as the gentle teardrop in the eye of a beautiful lady—But gentlemen, as a beverage, it is a damn failure!"

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical QuotationsEdit

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 862-63.
  • Still waters run no mills.
    • Quoted by Aglionby, Life of Bickerstaff, p. 5.
  • Pure water is the best of gifts that man to man can bring,
    But who am I that I should have the best of anything?
    Let princes revel at the pump, let peers with ponds make free,
    Whisky, or wine, or even beer is good enough for me.
    • Anon. In the Spectator, July 31, 1920. Attributed to Hon. G. W. E. Russell, also to Lord Neaves. Several versions given in Notes and Queries, Oct. 23, 1897.
  • Pouring oil on troubled water.
    • Adam Bede, Historia Ecclesiastica, Book III, Chapter XV, p. 142. (Hussey's Ed.) Bede says he received the account from Cynemund, who heard it from Utta. Found also in St. Basil, Hexæm. Hom., II. Erasmus, Adagia. Plautus, Pœnulus, V, IV. 66.
  • A cup of cold Adam from the next purling stream.
  • The miller sees not all the water that goes by his mill.
    • Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621), Part III, Section III. Memb. 4. Subsect. 1.
  • Till taught by pain,
    Men really know not what good water's worth;
    If you had been in Turkey or in Spain,
    Or with a famish'd boat's-crew had your berth,
    Or in the desert heard the camel's bell,
    You'd wish yourself where Truth is—in a well.
  • Water, water, everywhere,
    And all the boards did shrink;
    Water, water, everywhere,
    Nor any drop to drink.
  • The world turns softly
    Not to spill its lakes and rivers,
    The water is held in its arms
    And the sky is held in the water.
    What is water,
    That pours silver,
    And can hold the sky?
  • Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel.
    • Genesis. XLIX. 4.
  • Water its living strength first shows,
    When obstacles its course oppose.
  • And pines with thirst amidst a sea of waves.
    • Homer, The Odyssey, Book XI, line 722. Pope's translation.
  • Water is the mother of the vine,
    The nurse and fountain of fecundity,
    The adorner and refresher of the world.
  • I'm very fond of water:
    It ever must delight
    Each mother's son and daughter,—
    When qualified aright.
  • Caducis
    Percussu crebro saxa cavantur aquis.
    • Stones are hollowed out by the constant dropping of water.
    • Ovid, Epistolæ Ex Ponto, II. 7. 39.
  • Est in aqua dulci non invidiosa voluptas.
    • There is no small pleasure in sweet water.
    • Ovid, Epistolæ Ex Ponto, II. 7. 73.
  • Miserum est opus,
    Igitur demum fodere puteum, ubi sitis fauces tedet.
    • It is wretched business to be digging a well just as thirst is mastering you.
    • Plautus, Mostellaria, II. 1. 32.
  • A Rechabite poor Will must live,
    And drink of Adam's ale.
  • The noise of many waters.
    • Psalms. XCIII. 4.
  • As water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again.
    • II Samuel, XIV. 14.
  • 'Tis rushing now adown the spout,
    And gushing out below,
    Half frantic in its joyousness,
    And wild in eager flow.
    The earth is dried and parched with heat,
    And it hath long'd to be
    Released from out the selfish cloud,
    To cool the thirsty tree.
  • And so never ending,
    But always descending.
  • "How does the Water
    Come down at Lodore?"
  • 'Tis a little thing
    To give a cup of water: yet its draught
    Of cool refreshment, drain'd by feverish lips,
    May give a thrill of pleasure to the frame
    More exquisite than when nectarian juice
    Renews the life of joy in happiest hours.
  • How dear to this heart are the scenes of my childhood,
    When fond recollection presents them to view.
    * * * * * *
    The old oaken bucket, the iron-bound bucket,
    The moss-covered bucket, which hung in the well.
  • How sweet from the green mossy brim to receive it,
    As, poised on the curb, it inclined to my lips!
    Not a full blushing goblet could tempt me to leave it,
    The brightest that beauty or revelry sips.

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

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