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al·​lu·​vi·​al ə-ˈlü-vē-əl How to pronounce alluvial (audio)
: relating to, composed of, or found in alluvium
alluvial soil
alluvial diamonds


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: an alluvial deposit

Examples of alluvial in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
On October 27, 1815, Prospect Robbins arrived by boat at the point in the alluvial swamps where the Arkansas and Mississippi rivers meet. Boyce Upholt, Smithsonian Magazine, 11 June 2024 Altitude and limestone soils alone do not produce great wine; the differences within Adrianna, besides variations in vineyard height, lie in the top layer of soil, which is mainly alluvial, caused by an ancient river that ran through here, and eolic, formed by wind. Mike Desimone and Jeff Jenssen, Robb Report, 9 Apr. 2024 The colony’s infrastructure remained rudimentary, most of the small German settler population lived in poverty, and the indigenous African labor force toiled to mine alluvial diamonds under horrendous conditions. Steven Press, Foreign Affairs, 19 Oct. 2021 The forested ridges catch rain, and water percolates into the canyon’s alluvial soil, where the trees’ roots tap into shallow groundwater. Ian James, Los Angeles Times, 29 Nov. 2023 More recently, a 2020 study estimated that around 30% of today's land cover is forest in the Lower Mississippi alluvial valley, the historic floodplain of the lower river, while forests used to be continuous across the valley. Taylor Wilson, USA TODAY, 5 Aug. 2023 These operations will increase in intensity as more intelligence is built up—an alluvial process that takes time. Foreign Affairs, 14 Dec. 2014 But over the past few decades, more and more spectacular and extensive early Buddhist sites have begun to emerge from the region’s rich alluvial soils. William Dalrymple, The New York Review of Books, 31 Aug. 2023 This pottery is made of the alluvial soil that makes the Indo-Gangetic plains so fertile. Ruby Mellen, Washington Post, 15 Aug. 2023
Key to that fight is destroying and seizing the costly heavy machinery that’s being used in the operations — most blatantly the diggers and dredges employed in riverside, or alluvial, mining. Jim Wyss and Kyra Gurney, miamiherald, 16 Jan. 2018

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'alluvial.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


1771, in the meaning defined above


1816, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of alluvial was in 1771

Dictionary Entries Near alluvial

Cite this Entry

“Alluvial.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


: relating to, composed of, or found in alluvium

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