aromatic herb, plant of the genus Mentha, Old English minte (8c.), from West Germanic *minta (source also of Old Saxon minta, Middle Dutch mente, Old High German minza, German Minze), a borrowing from Latin menta, mentha "mint," itself from Greek minthe, personified as a nymph transformed into an herb by Proserpine, which is probably a loan-word from a lost Mediterranean language. For mint-julep, see julep.
Old English wæter, from Proto-Germanic *watr- (source also of Old Saxon watar, Old Frisian wetir, Dutch water, Old High German wazzar, German Wasser, Old Norse vatn, Gothic wato "water"), from PIE *wod-or, suffixed form of root *wed- (1) "water; wet."
To keep (one's) head above water in the figurative sense is recorded from 1742. Water cooler is recorded from 1846; water polo from 1884; water torture from 1928. Linguists believe PIE had two root words for water: *ap- and *wed-. The first (preserved in Sanskrit apah as well as Punjab and julep) was "animate," referring to water as a living force; the latter referred to it as an inanimate substance. The same probably was true of fire (n.).