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From well +‎ head.



wellhead (plural wellheads)

  1. The place where a spring breaks out of the ground; the source of water for a stream or well.
    • 1607, George Chapman, Bussy D'Ambois, London: William Aspley, Act I, Scene 1, p. 3,[1]
      Leaue the troubled streames,
      And liue as Thriuers doe at the Well head.
    • 1789, William Gilpin, Observations on the River Wye, London: R. Blamire, Section 6, p. 74,[2]
      It is a singular circumstance, that within a quarter of a mile of the well-head of the Wye, arises the Severn.
    • 1886, Robert Louis Stevenson, Kidnapped, Chapter 24,[3]
      [] for the best part of three nights [we] travelled on eerie mountains and among the well-heads of wild rivers []
  2. (figuratively) The source of something; a fountainhead.
    • 1596, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, London: William Ponsonbie, Book 5, Canto 9, p. 303,[4]
      [] he likened was to a welhed
      Of evill words, and wicked sclaunders by him shed.
    • 1932, D. H. Lawrence, “Painted Tombs of Tarquinia” in Etruscan Places, New York: Viking, 1957, p. 113,
      [] a bull was not merely a stud animal worth so much, due to go to the butcher in a little while. It was a vast wonder-beast, a well-head of the great, furnace-like passion that makes the worlds roll and the sun surge up []
  3. The surface structure of an oil well etc.