The question is clear. If it has a proper common name, what's a big water bottle exactly like those in the picture bellow called? The objects whose name is asked

You can say that there is no common proper word for that, as you can't force one to exist if it doesn't. You can then just state how's it referred to. Note that I'm asking for a word that people would normally use, not some obscure term. The answer is therefore pretty much straightforward, except, say if there's a dialect issue.

The Portuguese word (from Portugal, not Brazil) "garrafão" might just have no equivalent in English. The word "demijohn" certainly must not be it, since an image search for that word reveals far different results from the object in question and shows how all the dictionaries that translate it as such may be wrong in that sense. "Carboy" doesn't seem to fit either. These are just common water bottles from the supermarket, typically of 5 liters.

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    – Usernew
    Commented Apr 29, 2016 at 15:40
  • Is there a difference in the meaning of the word in Brazilian and European Portuguese? Searching garrafão on Google mostly shows pictures of water cooler bottles and carboys.
    – user3395
    Commented Apr 29, 2016 at 15:59
  • In the US, it wouldn't be liters but quarts and gallons, and we'd say "a gallon bottle". The shape would also be different. webstaurantstore.com/…
    – TimR
    Commented Apr 29, 2016 at 17:23
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    "Bottle" or "jug" sounds right to this US English speaker. Most containers of water are just "bottles". A "jug" is usually larger (I think five liters, which is more than one gallon, would count) and almost as wide as it is tall. "Demijohn" is rare and obscure, don't use it. "Carboy" usually means a very large kind of vessel for storage, like about 40 liters.
    – stangdon
    Commented Apr 29, 2016 at 18:47
  • Alright, thank you all for the answers, including the link. I don't know about Brazilian, it was just to cover everything as it could end up meaning something else in that variant that might often have this kind of details different. Commented Apr 29, 2016 at 21:26

3 Answers 3


Jug of water? I mean I just call them a big jug of water or a gallon of water.

  • Yeah jug would work. also just water bottle could work Commented Apr 29, 2016 at 15:43
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    In British English a jug would always mean an open-topped vessel with a handle and a spout for pouring.
    – nekomatic
    Commented May 20, 2016 at 8:06
  • Similar Q&A is here: english.stackexchange.com/questions/256969/…
    – SDsolar
    Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 6:25
  • I indeed came to hear somewhat old English people (from the UK) refer specifically to them on the shelves as "jugs." Commented Mar 5, 2019 at 16:09
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    @nekomatic Not entirely correct - it is entirely normal these days for me to go and buy a "jug of milk" which one would hope was properly sealed at the top, and which would probably be a two- or four-litre container.
    – MikeB
    Commented Jul 7, 2020 at 13:50

The ones for water coolers are called refills or refill bottles. This suggests there isn't actually an answer to your question as such bottles are not sold in that size.


Dispenser Bottle seems to fit the bill, because these are meant to plug into water coolers and dispensers. A search on Google Images for dispenser bottle shows many examples of these 3 or 5 gallon bottles.

  • These are five litres, not five gallons! Commented Jul 20, 2021 at 8:18
  • The ones we use are twenty litres.
    – Pranab
    Commented Jul 20, 2021 at 8:50

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