Ultimate List of Water Words for Descriptive Writing

There’s no reason to use the same word over and over when you’re describing water in your writing. There are a lot of different words to describe water in all of its many forms. Discover a variety of options on this ultimate list of water words.

list of water words list of water words

Describing the Appearance of Water

Some of the words to describe water paint a clear picture by explaining the appearance of water.

  • blue
  • calm
  • clean
  • clear
  • crystal clear
  • dirty
  • foamy
  • frothy
  • glassy
  • green
  • mirrored
  • mucky
  • muddy
  • murky
  • opaque
  • placid
  • serene
  • still
  • transparent
  • tranquil
  • turbid
  • wavy

Descriptive Terms for Bodies of Water

There are several types of bodies of water, each described by a unique name. Be sure you use the correct term for any body of water you’re describing in your writing.

  • basin
  • bay
  • bayou
  • bog
  • canal
  • channel
  • coastal
  • cove
  • creek
  • deep sea
  • estuary
  • geyser
  • inlet
  • lake
  • lagoon
  • marsh
  • ocean
  • pool
  • pond
  • reservoir
  • river
  • rivulet
  • sea
  • tidal pool
  • waterway

Terms to Describe Different Types of Water

There are many types of water, some of which occur naturally and others that occur as a result of treatment or being used.

  • blackwater
  • briny
  • bottled
  • brackish
  • city
  • deionized
  • distilled
  • drinking
  • freshwater
  • greywater
  • mineral
  • municipal
  • potable
  • rainwater
  • saltwater
  • tab
  • wastewater
  • well water

Describing Water Movement

Water can be still or move in different ways. Using descriptive words to show how water moves can really clarify the setting in a story.

  • breaking
  • bottomless
  • burbling
  • choppy
  • crashing
  • cresting
  • current
  • dammed
  • eddy
  • flatwater
  • flowing
  • maelstrom
  • moving
  • rapids
  • rippling
  • rolling
  • rough
  • springs
  • stagnant
  • tempestuous
  • tide
  • trickle
  • undulating
  • whirlpool

Descriptive Terms for Water Depth or Level

The depth of water can vary greatly; some bodies of water are naturally very deep while others are more shallow. Water levels can rise or fall due to a variety of factors, including changing tides.

  • abyss
  • ebb tide
  • deep
  • flood stage
  • flooding
  • high
  • high tide
  • high water
  • low
  • low ebb
  • low tide
  • low water
  • overflowing
  • puddle
  • shallow
  • storm surge
  • surge
  • swollen

Words to Describe Water Temperature

Water can take on a wide variety of temperatures, from boiling hot to freezing cold.

  • boiling
  • burning hot
  • chilly
  • cold
  • frigid
  • hot
  • icy
  • lukewarm
  • sea surface temperatures
  • steamy
  • temperature
  • tepid
  • warm

Describing Water as Precipitation

Water sometimes takes the form of precipitation, so some words that describe water are weather-related terms.

  • barrage
  • coming down
  • deluge
  • downpour
  • drizzling
  • falling
  • mist
  • mizzle
  • pelting
  • rain
  • raindrops
  • rainfall
  • rainstorm
  • shower
  • sleet
  • storm
  • pouring
  • soaking
  • shower
  • spilled
  • sprinkling
  • squall
  • torrent
  • torrential
  • waterspout

Words That Describe the State of Water

Some terms that describe water refer to the state of water, such as whether substances have been added to or removed from the water.

  • carbonated
  • chlorinated
  • contaminated
  • effluent
  • filtered
  • flavored
  • littered
  • processed
  • muddy
  • polluted
  • purified
  • saline
  • salty
  • sparkling
  • sulfurous
  • treated

Words for Water Activities

There are a wide variety of water-related sports and activities that many people enjoy participating in.

  • boating
  • bodyboarding
  • canoeing
  • cliff diving
  • diving
  • fishing
  • floating
  • hydrofoiling
  • kayaking
  • paddleboarding
  • paddling
  • rafting
  • rowing
  • scuba diving
  • snorkeling
  • swimming
  • synchronized swimming
  • tubing
  • wading
  • wakeboarding
  • water aerobics
  • water ballet
  • water polo
  • windsurfing

Other Words to Describe Water

Some words that describe water don’t fall neatly into one of the above categories. Discover several additional descriptive terms for water.

  • downstream
  • drinkable
  • drip
  • drop
  • droplet
  • fetid
  • fresh
  • holy
  • hose
  • hydrating
  • levy
  • navigable
  • passable
  • perilous
  • upstream
  • pure
  • runoff
  • spray
  • stale
  • stored
  • wild

Many Words to Describe Water

As you can see, there are a lot of different ways to describe water. Whether you’re looking for the perfect word to describe the surface of water at a particular point in time under specific conditions or you’re looking to precisely describe a particular body of water or type of water, there are plenty of options to consider. You’ll be able to paint a very clear picture for readers when you carefully select descriptive terms from this list.

Boost Writing Quality With Descriptive Word Lists

Don’t stop with looking for descriptive words for water. Make sure your writing is engaging and interesting to readers by using descriptive language throughout your work. Now that you have an extensive list of water words, seek other terminology to make your writing more vivid. Start by reviewing this list of descriptive words, which includes adverbs, adjectives and gerunds. From there, explore other descriptive word lists on a wide variety of topics. If you want to learn more about water from a scientific perspective, check out the properties of water.

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