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Area where flowing river water drops abruptly and nearly vertically. A waterfall may also be termed a falls, or, when large volumes of water are involved, a cataract. Waterfalls of small height and less steepness or a series of small falls are called cascades. Still gentler stretches of river that exhibit turbulent flow and white water are called rapids.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on waterfall, visit Britannica.com.