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Etymology 1[edit]

Inside an underground sewer (etymology 1)

From Middle English sewer, seuer, from Anglo-Norman sewere (water-course), from Old French sewiere (overflow channel for a fishpond), from Vulgar Latin *exaquāria (drain for carrying water off), from Latin ex (out of, from) + aquāria (of or pertaining to waters).



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sewer (plural sewers)

  1. A pipe or system of pipes used to remove human waste and to provide drainage.
    • 2014 June 14, “It's a gas”, in The Economist[1], volume 411, number 8891:
      One of the hidden glories of Victorian engineering is proper drains. Isolating a city’s effluent and shipping it away in underground sewers has probably saved more lives than any medical procedure except vaccination.


sewer (third-person singular simple present sewers, present participle sewering, simple past and past participle sewered)

  1. (transitive) To provide (a place) with a system of sewers.

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English seware, seuere, from Anglo-Norman asseour, from Old French asseoir (find a seat for), from Latin assidēre, present active participle of assideō (attend to), from ad (to, towards, at) + sedeō (sit).


  • IPA(key): /ˈsjuːə/
  • Hyphenation: sew‧er


sewer (plural sewers)

  1. (now historical) A servant attending at a meal who is responsible for seating arrangements, serving dishes, etc.
    • 1819, Walter Scott, Ivanhoe:
      While the Saxon was plunged in these painful reflections, the door of their prison opened, and gave entrance to a sewer, holding his white rod of office.
    • 2011, Thomas Penn, Winter King, Penguin, published 2012, page 287:
      His nephew Charles, meanwhile, had grown up in the royal household, working as a sewer, or waiter.

Etymology 3[edit]

A sewer (Etymology 3) in Dhaka

sew +‎ -er



sewer (plural sewers)

  1. One who sews.
  2. A small tortricid moth, the larva of which sews together the edges of a leaf using silk.
    the apple-leaf sewer, Phoxopteris nubeculana