A body of water or waterbody (often spelled water body) is any significant accumulation of water, generally on a planet's surface. The term most often refers to oceans, seas, and lakes, but it includes smaller pools of water such as ponds, wetlands, or more rarely, puddles. A body of water does not have to be still or contained; rivers, streams, canals, and other geographical features where water moves from one place to another are also considered bodies of water.
Most are naturally occurring geographical features, but some are artificial. There are types that can be either. For example, most reservoirs are created by engineering dams, but some natural lakes are used as reservoirs. Similarly, most harbors are naturally occurring bays, but some harbors have been created through construction.
Bodies of water that are navigable are known as waterways. Some bodies of water collect and move water, such as rivers and streams, and others primarily hold water, such as lakes and oceans.
The term body of water can also refer to a reservoir of water held by a plant, technically known as a phytotelma.
Bodies of water are affected by gravity which is what creates the tidal effects on Earth.
Canal – an artificial waterway, usually connected to (and sometimes connecting) existing lakes, rivers, or oceans.
Channel – the physical confine of a river, slough or ocean strait consisting of a bed and banks. See also stream bed and strait.
Cove – a coastal landform. Earth scientists generally use the term to describe a circular or round inlet with a narrow entrance, though colloquially the term is sometimes used to describe any sheltered bay.
Gulf – a part of a lake or ocean that extends so that it is surrounded by land on three sides, similar to, but larger than a bay.
Harbor – an artificial or naturally occurring body of water where ships are stored or may shelter from the ocean's weather and currents.
Impoundment – an artificially-created body of water, by damming a source. Often used for flood control, as a drinking water supply (reservoir), recreation, ornamentation (artificial pond), or other purpose or combination of purposes. Note that the process of creating an "impoundment" of water is itself called "impoundment."
Inlet – a body of water, usually seawater, which has characteristics of one or more of the following: bay, cove, estuary, firth, fjord, geo, sea loch, or sound.
Kettle (or kettle lake) – a shallow, sediment-filled body of water formed by retreating glaciers or draining floodwaters.
Marsh – a wetland featuring grasses, rushes, reeds, typhas, sedges, and other herbaceous plants (possibly with low-growing woody plants) in a context of shallow water. See also Salt marsh.
Mediterranean sea (oceanography) – a mostly enclosed sea that has a limited exchange of deep water with outer oceans and where the water circulation is dominated by salinity and temperature differences rather than winds
Mere – a lake or body of water that is broad in relation to its depth.
Puddle – a small accumulation of water on a surface, usually the ground.
Reservoir – a place to store water for various uses, especially drinking water, which can be a natural or artificial (see Lake and Impoundment above)
Rill – a shallow channel of running water. These can be either natural or man-made. Also: a very small brook; rivulet; small stream.
River – a natural waterway usually formed by water derived from either precipitation or glacial meltwater, and flows from higher ground to lower ground.
Rivulet – (UK)(US literary) a small or very small stream.
Roadstead – a place outside a harbor where a ship can lie at anchor; it is an enclosed area with an opening to the sea, narrower than a bay or gulf (often called a "roads").
Run – a small stream or part thereof, especially a smoothly flowing part of a stream.
Salt marsh – a type of marsh that is a transitional zone between land and an area, such as a slough, bay, or estuary, with salty or brackish water.
Sea – a large expanse of saline water connected with an ocean, or a large, usually saline, lake that lacks a natural outlet such as the Caspian Sea and the Dead Sea. In common usage, often synonymous with the ocean.
Subglacial lake – a lake that is permanently covered by ice and whose water remains liquid by the pressure of the ice sheet and geothermal heating. They often occur under glaciers or ice caps. Lake Vostok in Antarctica is an example.
Swamp – a wetland that features permanent inundation of large areas of land by shallow bodies of water, generally with a substantial number of hummocks, or dry-land protrusions.
Tarn – a mountain lake or pool formed in a cirque excavated by a glacier.
Tide pool – a rocky pool adjacent to an ocean and filled with seawater.
Tributary or affluent – a stream or river that flows into the main stem (or parent) river or a lake.
Vernal pool – a shallow, natural depression in level ground, with no permanent above-ground outlet, that holds water seasonally.
Wadi – a usually-dry creek bed or gulch that temporarily fills with water after a heavy rain, or seasonally; located in North Africa and Western Asia. See also Arroyo (creek).
Wash – a usually dry creek bed or gulch that temporarily fills with water after a heavy rain, or seasonally. See also wadi.
Wetland – an environment "at the interface between truly terrestrial ecosystems and truly aquatic systems making them different from each yet highly dependent on both".
Bog – Type of wetland that accumulates peat due to incomplete decomposition of plant matter
^The first edition of Wetlands by Mitsch and Gosselink was published in 1986 by Van Nostrand Reinhold. Second, third, and fourth (current) editions were published in 1993, 2000, and 2007 respectively by John Wiley & Sons. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 3 July 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bodies of water.