watershed

watershed
originally a term in geology referring to the flow and division of river currents, has been used since the late 19c in the figurative meaning ‘a turning-point in affairs’:

• In the social history of twentieth-century Britain the Second World War stands out as a watershed —H. Smith, 1986.

It is often used attributively (i.e. before a noun:

• Ade became one of the more astute chroniclers of the daily preoccupations of ordinary people who were living through the ‘watershed period’ —T. Tobin, 1973).

In the UK watershed has a special meaning in broadcasting, denoting the time in the evening after which programmes are no longer guaranteed as suitable for viewing by children.

Modern English usage. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • watershed — UK US /ˈwɔːtəʃed/ noun [S] ► an event or period that is important because it represents a big change in how people do or think about something: a watershed for sth/sb »The buyout was hailed on Wall Street as a watershed for private equity. a… …   Financial and business terms

  • Watershed — Альбом Opeth …   Википедия

  • Watershed — im Prime Club Köln. Dezember 2003 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Watershed — Álbum de Opeth Publicación 2 de junio de 2008 …   Wikipedia Español

  • Watershed — Wa ter*shed , n. [Cf. G. wasserscheide; wasser water + scheide a place where two things separate, fr. scheiden to separate.] [1913 Webster] 1. The whole region or extent of country which contributes to the supply of a river or lake. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • watershed — index crossroad (turning point) Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • watershed — line separating waters flowing into different rivers, 1803, from WATER (Cf. water) (n.1) + SHED (Cf. shed). A loan translation of Ger. Wasser scheide. Figurative sense is attested from 1878. Meaning ground of a river system is from 1878 …   Etymology dictionary

  • watershed — ► NOUN 1) an area or ridge of land that separates waters flowing to different rivers, basins, or seas. 2) a turning point in a state of affairs. 3) Brit. the time after which programmes that are unsuitable for children are broadcast on television …   English terms dictionary

  • watershed — [wôt′ərshed΄] n. 1. a ridge or stretch of high land dividing the areas drained by different rivers or river systems ☆ 2. the area drained by a river or river system 3. a crucial turning point affecting action, opinion, etc …   English World dictionary

  • Watershed — NOTOC Watershed may refer to: * Watershed, drainage divide (non American usage) * Watershed, drainage basin (North American usage) * Watershed (algorithm), an algorithm used in image processing * Watershed area (medical), an area with overlapping …   Wikipedia

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