I am wondering if there is any difference between these in meaning?

water of

water from

And , what does "water of life" mean?


  • There are many uses for these two prepositions (and the answer would be too long). Sometimes there is a difference in meaning; sometimes the usage of one is simply idiomatic, where the usage of the other isn't. To remain on-topic, I suggest that you link the definitions of the two that you looked up and ask a more specific question (e.g. which two definitions you think are similar and you can't tell the difference between). In your example water of life would be the water that gives life; water from life would be water derived from life (I wouldn't use that one if I were you). – Lucky Jul 8 '15 at 12:33
  • 1
    "Water of life" is also a name for whiskey. – ssav Jul 8 '15 at 13:21
  • @ssav that's interesting (and the first time I hear it). – Lucky Jul 8 '15 at 13:39
  • The word 'whiskey' comes from the Irish Gaelic 'uisce beatha', which means 'water of life'. It was the name Irish monks gave to distilled alcohol, which they translated from the Latin 'aqua vitae'. There are quite a few distilled spirits that get their names from variations on 'water of life'. – ssav Jul 8 '15 at 16:01

In some cases, "water of" and "water from" will mean the same thing:

In this city, we drink water from Lake Michigan.

In this city, we drink the water of Lake Michigan.

Where I live, the first sentence would be more common, but you could use either sentence to explain where the drinking water is sourced.

"Water of life" is a little bit different, though. In this case, it does not mean the same thing as "water from life". The meaning is really "water, which gives us life". You can see a similar construction in metaphorical phrases like:

a wealth of knowledge

a font of wisdom

a sea of tranquility

If you used "from" in any of cases, the meaning would change drastically. In most cases, the phrases wouldn't even make sense anymore.

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