Watershed moment

Photo of author


The idiom watershed moment came into use in the mid-1800s. We will examine the meaning of the expression watershed moment, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

A watershed moment is a turning point, the exact moment that changes the direction of an activity or situation. A watershed moment is a dividing point, from which things will never be the same. It is considered momentous, though a watershed moment is often recognized in hindsight. The word watershed is used literally to mean an area of land that divides the flow of separate rivers, or the high ridge from which water flows into a body of water. It is a division between land and water. The figurative sense of watershed came into use in the mid-1800s, and watershed moment came into use around the turn of the twentieth century. The plural form of watershed moment is watershed moments.


Mr Sanchez acknowledged the political influence of an unprecedented strike on International Women’s Day on March 8, when millions of Spanish women abandoned their workplaces and homes and took to the streets, describing it as a watershed moment for social progress. (The Regina Leader-Post)

Aberdeenshire East SNP MSP Gillian Martin said: “This is a watershed moment in the fight against period poverty. (The Press and Journal)

A controversy around wrongly interpreted cervical smear tests marks a watershed moment for the management of Ireland’s health service, a government minister has said. (The Belfast Telegraph)

Weinstein’s victims, his former industry contemporaries, and media figures flooded social media to remark on the watershed moment for the Me Too movement. (Variety)