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natural or artificially conveyed flow of water. In ancient Greece columnar shrines were built over springs and dedicated to deities or nymphs. In ancient Rome fountains fed by the great aqueduct system furnished water in the streets, in the villa gardens, and in town houses. Though there were few public fountains in the Middle Ages, a number of beautiful examples remain, especially in Italy, where splendid Renaissance fountains, showing the full artistic exuberance of the period, are also found even in the smallest village square or the least pretentious villa. The development of the great 16th- and 17th-century villas, with their hillside gardens and natural water sources, called forth amazing ingenuity in water decoration. In the Villa d'Este at Tivoli and the villas at Frascati, near Rome, the various disposals of water constituted an integral element of the garden composition. In France the gardens of the palace of Versailles, designed by Le Nôtre, embodied a vast scheme of water adornment, with elaborate sculptural treatment. The supply, held in a reservoir at Marly, was raised 500 ft (152 m) above the Seine by machinery. The theatrical trend of the baroque period found expression also in fountains. In keeping with the animated postures of the sculptured nymphs, sea horses, and dolphins, the water issued splashing over the rims of the uppermost bowls and down upon artificial rocks and shells. A colossal figure of Neptune was a favorite motif, as in famous examples at Florence, Bologna, and Rome. Bernini designed one such fountain in Rome. He also planned the superbly simple fountains in St. Peter's Square and the dramatic fountains in the Piazza Navona. In 1762 one of the most famous and elaborate examples was completed, the fountain of Trevi. In sharp contrast with these are the fountains of Muslim countries, which instead of gushing water often emit an inconspicuous trickle. In their gardens the water lies in quiet pools and long, narrow channels. Of the Moorish fountains employing basins and sculpture, the Fountain of the Lions in the Alhambra, Granada, is the most famous. Invariably a fountain for ablutions stands in the courtyard of a mosque. In Middle Eastern cities the public fountains are entirely enclosed within structures richly finished in marbles and ceramics and with wide projecting roofs. Examples are numerous in İstanbul, Cairo, and Damascus. The modern public drinking fountain is usually of strictly utilitarian design. American architects and landscape artists, however, are encouraging the use of the ornamental fountain with definite success.


An architectural setting incorporating a continuous or artificial water supply, fed by a system of pipes and nozzles through which water is forced under pressure to produce a stream of ornamental jets.



in architecture, a structure serving as the base or frame for a stream of water either jetting upward or flowing downward. Fountains were originally constructed only as sources of drinking water. Later, flowing water was combined with architecture, sculpture, and greenery to create various ornamental and artistic effects.

Ornamental fountains were built in ancient and medieval Western European cities, in the countries of the Middle and Near East, and in India. Fountains with statues, columns, basins, and other objects are known to date as far back as the classical period. They were favorite decorations for city squares from the 16th to 18th centuries in Europe, for example, in Florence and Rome, and in villas and palace-park complexes, notably at Versailles.

In Russia, in the 18th and early 19th centuries, an impressive system of fountains was constructed at Petergof (present-day Petrodvorets). In modern architecture, fountains add an ornamental effect that is often enhanced at night by electric illumination.


Spyshnov, P. A. Fontany. Moscow, 1950.

What does it mean when you dream about a fountain?

Fountains capture a symbol of emotions and of the unconscious; they combine water with the elements of air and light, symbolizing a highly controlled and intellectualized examination of the self. Fountains are also symbols of nourishment (the fountain of life) and eternal life (the fountain of youth).


(graphic arts)
In printing, a container or reservoir on a press that contains an ink supply.
In offset lithography, a fountain solution (usually a water-alcohol mixture) that wets the nonprinting areas of the plate.


3. See soda fountain.


of Youth fabulous fountain believed to restore youth to the aged. [Western Folklore: Brewer Handbook, 389]
References in classic literature ?
There were smoothly paved streets; wondrously carved fountains, some in ruins, all now as dry as bone, but which must have been places of beauty where youths and maidens gathered in the ancient days.
Fountains and yee, that warble, as ye flow, Melodious murmurs, warbling tune his praise.
But when men and horses, cattle, camels, and dromedaries, have poached the spring into mud, it becomes loathsome to those who at first drank of it with rapture; and he who had the merit of discovering it, if he would preserve his reputation with the tribe, must display his talent by a fresh discovery of untasted fountains.
The fountains, gardens, walks, avenues, and groves, were all disposed with exact judgment and taste.
How she longed to get out of that dark hall, and wander about among those beds of bright flowers and those cool fountains, but she could not even get her head though the doorway; `and even if my head would go through,' thought poor Alice, `it would be of very little use without my shoulders.
A great roofless palace crowned the hill, and the marble of the courtyards and the fountains was split, and stained with red and green, and the very cobblestones in the courtyard where the king's elephants used to live had been thrust up and apart by grasses and young trees.
That is all very well,' said the King, 'but I cannot give away my daughter until there stands in front of my palace a garden in which there are three fountains, of which the first must play gold, the second diamonds, and the third brilliants.
This is more visible after rains, for then the ground yields and sinks so much, that I believe it is chiefly supported by the roots of trees that are interwoven one with another; such is the ground round about these fountains.
What blood and fountains are you talking about, enemy of God and his saints?
The members of the legislature will rarely be chosen with a view to those qualifications which fit men for the stations of judges; and as, on this account, there will be great reason to apprehend all the ill consequences of defective information, so, on account of the natural propensity of such bodies to party divisions, there will be no less reason to fear that the pestilential breath of faction may poison the fountains of justice.
While the court was entirely overgrown with the yellow, moss-like vegetation which blankets practically the entire surface of Mars, yet numerous fountains, statuary, benches, and pergola-like contraptions bore witness to the beauty which the court must have presented in bygone times, when graced by the fair-haired, laughing people whom stern and unalterable cosmic laws had driven not only from their homes, but from all except the vague legends of their descendants.
They even go so far as to poison the fountains that the birds generally drink from.