Posted by Smokey Stover on May 26, 2005
In Reply to: Watershed moment posted by Bob on May 25, 2005
: : What is a "watershed moment"?
: From Dictionary.com:
: wa·ter·shed P Pronunciation Key (wôtr-shd, wtr-)
: A ridge of high land dividing two areas that are drained by different river systems. Also called water parting.
: The region draining into a river, river system, or other body of water.
: A critical point that marks a division or a change of course; a turning point: "a watershed in modern American history, a time that... forever changed American social attitudes" (Robert Reinhold).
: [Probably translation of German Wasserscheide : Wasser, water + Scheide, divide, parting.]
I'm probably trying to gild the lily, but Bob's answer (and that of dictionary.com) is absolutely correct, but the three definitions should probably be numbered, 1, 2, 3, to dispel any possibility of ambiguity. There is already ambiguity inasmuch as definition 1 refers to the divide between drainage areas, and definition 2 to the area drained. Definition 3 is chronological rather than geographical, as it refers to an event or, as Bob says, a turning point.
I'd like to mention another geographical watershed, the Continental Divide. I capitalize it because the phrase almost invariably refers to the ridge in the Rocky Mountains of the U.S. that separates rivers draining east into the Atlantic Ocean from those draining west into the Pacific. SS