February 13, 2013
fountainhead (noun)
\FOWN-tun-hed\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: a spring that is the source of a stream
How do you use it?
The park ranger led the class on a hike up Crag Mountain to the fountainhead of the stream that runs by our school.
Are you a word wiz?

We've told you one meaning of "fountainhead," but there is another. Think about the definition we've given you, and tell us which of the following you think is the other meaning of "fountainhead."

When "fountainhead" first came into English in the late 1500s, it meant only the source of a stream. Over time, "fountainhead" came to mean any original or primary source, be it an idea, place, or person. You might say, for example, that a certain philosophy was the fountainhead of a modern law, or that an ancient city was the fountainhead of a civilization. Often, a fountainhead is a person who inspires a new way of thinking or of doing something. If you introduce your friends to the Buzzword, you might be the fountainhead of a new way for your group to learn about words.
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