noun \ˈes-chə-ˌwer-ē, ˈesh-\

: an area where a river flows into the sea

plural es·tu·ar·ies

Full Definition of ESTUARY

:  a water passage where the tide meets a river current; especially :  an arm of the sea at the lower end of a river

Examples of ESTUARY

  1. <the city sits on the shores of a deep estuary where the Hudson River meets the Atlantic Ocean>

Origin of ESTUARY

Latin aestuarium, from aestus boiling, tide; akin to Latin aestas summer — more at edify
First Known Use: 1538

Related to ESTUARY

arm, bay, bight, cove, creek [chiefly British], embayment, gulf, firth, fjord (also fiord), inlet, loch [Scottish]

Other Geology Terms

anthracite, boulder, cwm, erratic, igneous, intrusive, mesa, sedimentary, silt, swale

Rhymes with ESTUARY

actuary, adversary, airy-fairy, ancillary, antiquary, apiary, arbitrary, aviary, axillary, bacillary, beriberi, bestiary, biliary, black raspberry, Bloody Mary, boysenberry, breviary, budgetary, calamari, calamary, candleberry, Canterbury, capillary, carpellary, cassowary, catenary, cautionary, cavitary, cemetery, centenary, certiorari, checkerberry, chinaberry, cometary, commentary, commissary, condottiere, coralberry, corollary, coronary, culinary, customary, dictionary, dietary, dignitary, dromedary, dysentery, elderberry, emissary, farkleberry, February, formulary, fragmentary, fritillary, functionary, funerary, honorary, huckleberry, intermarry, janissary, January, lamasery, lapidary, lectionary, legendary, legionary, lingonberry, literary, loganberry, luminary, mammillary, mandatary, maxillary, medullary, mercenary, miliary, military, millenary, milliary, millinery, missionary, momentary, monastery, mortuary, necessary, ordinary, ossuary, partridgeberry, pensionary, pigmentary, planetary, Pondicherry, prebendary, presbytery, pulmonary, quaternary, red mulberry, reliquary, rowanberry, salivary, salmonberry, salutary, sanctuary, sanguinary, sanitary, secondary, secretary, sedentary, seminary, silverberry, solitary, sour cherry, stationary, stationery, statuary, subcontrary, sublunary, sugarberry, sumptuary, syllabary, temporary, tertiary, thimbleberry, Tipperary, Tom and Jerry, topiary, tributary, tutelary, Typhoid Mary, unitary, urinary, vestiary, Virgin Mary, visionary, voluntary, vulnerary, Waterbury, whortleberry, winterberry


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Partly enclosed coastal body of water in which river water is mixed with seawater. An estuary is thus defined by salinity rather than geography. Many coastal features designated by other names are in fact estuaries (e.g., Chesapeake Bay). Some of the oldest continuous civilizations have flourished in estuarine environments (e.g., the land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, the Nile delta, the Ganges delta, and the lower Huang He valley). Cities such as London (River Thames), New York (Hudson River), and Montreal (St. Lawrence River) developed on estuaries and became important commercial centres.


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