Old English wæterunge "a carrying water," verbal noun from water (v.). From late 14c. as "a soaking with water;" mid-15c. as "a giving water to (an animal);" c. 1600 as "salivation." Watering-can is from 1690s (earlier water-can, late 14c.); watering-hole is from 1882 (earlier water-hole, 1670s, watering-place, mid-15c.); by 1965 in the figurative sense "place where people meet and socialize over drinks."
updated on March 24, 2014