from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The pipes, fixtures, and other apparatus of a water, gas, or sewage system in a building.
  • noun The work or trade of a plumber.
  • noun Informal An arrangement of bodily vessels or ducts.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The art of casting and working in lead (also, by extension, in other metals put to similar uses), and applying it to various purposes connected with buildings, as in roofs, windows, pipes, etc.
  • noun The act or process of ascertaining the depth of anything.
  • noun Lead pipes and other apparatus used for conveying water or other liquids through a building.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The art of casting and working in lead, and applying it to building purposes; especially, the business of furnishing, fitting, and repairing pipes for conducting water, sewage, etc.
  • noun The lead or iron pipes, and other apparatus, used in conveying water, sewage, etc., in a building.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun uncountable The pipes, together with the joints, tanks, stopcocks, taps and other fixtures of a water, gas or sewage system in a house or other building.
  • noun uncountable The trade or occupation of a plumber.
  • noun uncountable, informal A system of vessels or ducts in the human body, especially the genitourinary system.
  • noun countable A Murasugi sum where each disk summed along has its boundary subdivided into four segments.

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

  • noun measuring the depths of the oceans
  • noun utility consisting of the pipes and fixtures for the distribution of water or gas in a building and for the disposal of sewage
  • noun the occupation of a plumber (installing and repairing pipes and fixtures for water or gas or sewage in a building)


Sorry, no etymologies found.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word plumbing.


  • A soft, heavy metal that has been used since antiquity (the word "plumbing" comes from the Latin word for lead, plumbum), lead had its heyday in the USA from the 1920s to the 1970s.

    For many kids, lead threat is right in their own homes

  • The society which scorns excellence in plumbing because plumbing is a humble activity, and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because philosophy is an exalted activity, will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy.

    Archive 2008-07-01

  • The society which scorns excellence in plumbing because plumbing is a humble activity, and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because philosophy is an exalted activity, will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy.

    The Blessing of Work

  • The word plumbing came from the Latin word plumbum which means lead.


  • They're not gung-ho to leave their condos in Boca to go back to the homeland where the plumbing is a bucket and a walk-to biffy.

    August 2004

  • Either way, Glocer argued that terminals "are only part of the story" and that the company is doing more business in what he called plumbing for the enterprise: "The data feeds that come into the basement at 85 Broad st".


  • Keep in mind what you are able to do and the amount of time that you have to do it and remind him that some jobs, such as plumbing, is something that he needs to hire a professional to do.

    Bedroom Decorating Ideas

  • The plumbing is designed such that the water creates a jet suction action.

    Coyote Blog » Blog Archive » All Our Shower Heads In My House Have Been Hacked

  • Edison didn't invent the light bulb -- he invented one * type* of light bulb. the bulb had been already invented. indoor plumbing is over 2000 years old. electricity came along long before Ben Franklin and gang -- it just didn't get used much. and so on. perhaps the biggest mistake people make is to equate "invention" with "progress" or "improvement".

    A Priori (Jack Bog's Blog)

  • Bookboxed – I absolutely agree – ALL rooms should have such a feature, to make up for the draughts and the uncertain plumbing and all the disadvantages of 400 years worth of history!

    A Room of One’s Own « Tales from the Reading Room


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • My adjectival use: 'I need some plumbing work done.'

    August 23, 2011

  • Diapers might be cheaper.

    August 24, 2011

  • "Pipe is made in many materials including ceramic, fiberglass, many metals, concrete and plastic. In the past, wood and lead (Latin plumbum, from which comes the word 'plumbing') were commonly used."


    May 8, 2013

  • I can’t believe I didn’t know the word plumbum. I might have to change my nom de plumb again.

    May 9, 2013