Thursday, January 29, 2015

Word of the Day -- Lake

A lake (sometimes called a loch) is an area (prototypically filled with water, also of variable size), localized in a basin, that is surrounded by land apart from any river or other outlet that serves to feed or drain the lake. Lakes lie on land and are not part of the ocean, and therefore are distinct from lagoons, and are also larger and deeper than ponds. Lakes can be contrasted with rivers or streams, which are usually flowing. However most lakes are fed and drained by rivers and streams.

Natural lakes are generally found in mountainous areas, rift zones, and areas with ongoing glaciation. Other lakes are found in endorheic basins or along the courses of mature rivers. In some parts of the world there are many lakes because of chaotic drainage patterns left over from the last Ice Age. All lakes are temporary over geologic time scales, as they will slowly fill in with sediments or spill out of the basin containing them.

Many lakes are artificial and are constructed for industrial or agricultural use, for hydro-electric power generation or domestic water supply, or for aesthetic or recreational purposes.

The word lake comes from Middle English lake ("lake, pond, waterway"), from Old English lacu ("pond, pool, stream"), from Proto-Germanic *lakō ("pond, ditch, slow moving stream"), from the Proto-Indo-European root *leǵ- ("to leak, drain"). Cognates include Dutch laak ("lake, pond, ditch"), Middle Low German lāke ("water pooled in a riverbed, puddle"), German Lache ("pool, puddle"), and Icelandic lækur ("slow flowing stream"). Also related are the English words leak and leach.

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