from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A covered hole or pit for receiving drainage or sewage, as from a house.
  • n. A filthy, disgusting, or morally corrupt place.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An underground pit where sewage is held.
  • n. A filthy place.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A cistern in the course, or the termination, of a drain, to collect sedimentary or superfluous matter; a privy vault; any receptacle of filth.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A sunk chamber, cistern, or well in a drain or privy, to receive the sediment or filth.
  • n. Figuratively, any foul or fetid receptacle.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a covered cistern; waste water and sewage flow into it


Perhaps alteration (influenced by pool1) of obsolete cesperalle, drainpipe, from Middle English suspiral, vent, from Old French sospirail, breathing hole, from souspirer, to breathe, from Latin suspīrāre, to sigh; see suspire.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
By folk etymology (influence from pool) from earlier cesperalle, alteration of Middle English suspiral, from Middle French souspirail ("air hole"), from soupirer, souspirer ("to sigh, breathe"), from Latin suspirare. (Wiktionary)



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