Definition of cistern in English:


Pronunciation /ˈsistərn/ /ˈsɪstərn/

See synonyms for cistern

Translate cistern into Spanish


  • 1A tank for storing water, especially one supplying taps or as part of a flushing toilet.

    ‘It is a water-saving device you fit in your toilet cistern so that less water is used for flushing.’
    • ‘The Court of Appeal held that although the escape of water was a consequence of the maintenance of the cistern and water supply by the landlord, it was not a breach of the covenant for quiet enjoyment.’
    • ‘Everything they needed to survive was inside: stores of food, cisterns of water, and strategically-placed air holes.’
    • ‘Old water cisterns and a Victorian toilet spill over with a veritable mass of plants and bulbs.’
    • ‘We have recently installed push button taps to stop dripping and wastage, and now they are looking at introducing water hogs for the toilet cistern to save on water.’
    • ‘Behind was a court, which provided light, and a place for a water cistern supplying a communal tap.’
    • ‘Amid comic dialogues and actions, and song and dance sequences, the players carried their message loud and clear: malaria-causing mosquitoes breed in clear water in the cisterns, tanks and wells of every household.’
    • ‘Size the cistern to provide enough water storage for reasonably expected dry periods.’
    • ‘The Japanese have gone one step further and installed hand-basins in the top of their cisterns so that the toilets are flushed with pre-used water.’
    • ‘Install half-flush cisterns in toilets so that the amount of water flushed down the drain can be reduced.’
    • ‘When you flush the toilet, the cistern refills by pumping the water through the tap on top of the toilet, so you can wash your hands as it refills.’
    • ‘Almost every house has cisterns and water pipes and fountains.’
    • ‘The company advises householders to check that their main stopcock works and that all pipe work, cisterns and tanks are well insulated.’
    • ‘Used water collected in this manner can be pumped back to supply outdoor taps and toilet cisterns everywhere already connected to the present system.’
    • ‘One compromise is to build a unit around the toilet to hide the cistern and plumbing from view but this ‘back to the wall’ unit will take up some potentially valuable space.’
    • ‘Rehabilitation would include bringing to working order the ablution which is in a bad state as most of the toilet pans and cisterns are broken.’
    • ‘But the resident must hand pump the water from the cistern to the barrel in advance.’
    • ‘They smash toilet cisterns over each others' heads!’
    • ‘When the bucket is full, I empty it into the toilet cistern.’
    • ‘In the corner of the room there is an iron cistern filled with water.’
    tank, reservoir, container
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1An underground reservoir for rainwater.
      ‘Many had wells or cisterns for collecting rainwater.’
      • ‘The city's greatest find, though, lay hidden beneath the surface: four immense, underground water cisterns.’
      • ‘Rain flowing from the roof is collected in an underground cistern and reused.’
      • ‘If all the canals are opened, how long will it take to fill the cistern?’
      • ‘Here the buildings are more substantial, and were supplied by a large water cistern.’
      tank, reservoir, container
      View synonyms


Middle English from Old French cisterne, from Latin cisterna, from cista ‘box’ (see cist).