noun, often attributive \ˈri-vər\

: a large natural flow of water that crosses an area of land and goes into an ocean, a lake, etc.

: a large flow of something

Full Definition of RIVER

a :  a natural stream of water of usually considerable volume
b :  watercourse
a :  something resembling a river <a river of lava>
b plural :  large or overwhelming quantities <drank rivers of coffee>
up the river
:  to or in prison <was sent up the river>

Examples of RIVER

  1. The raft is too small to use on this part of the river.
  2. Rivers of mud flowed down the hillside.

Origin of RIVER

Middle English rivere, from Anglo-French, from Vulgar Latin *riparia, from Latin, feminine of riparius riparian, from ripa bank, shore; perhaps akin to Greek ereipein to tear down
First Known Use: 14th century

Other Geology Terms

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

Rhymes with RIVER


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Natural stream of water that flows in a channel with more or less defined banks. Rivers are a fundamental link in the hydrologic cycle, and they play a major role in shaping the surface features of the Earth. Even apparently arid desert regions are greatly influenced by river action when periodic floodwaters surge down usually dry watercourses. River flow is sustained by the difference between water input and output. Rivers are fed by overland runoff, groundwater seepage, and meltwater released along the edges of snowfields and glaciers. Direct precipitation contributes only very small amounts of water. Losses of river water result from percolation into porous and permeable rock, gravel, or sand; evaporation; and ultimately outflow into the ocean.


Next Word in the Dictionary: riverain (adjective)
Previous Word in the Dictionary: rivel (noun)
All Words Near: river

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up river? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).