ar·​royo | \ ə-ˈrȯi-(ˌ)ō How to pronounce arroyo (audio) , \
plural arroyos

Definition of arroyo

1 : a watercourse (such as a creek) in an arid region
2 : a water-carved gully or channel

Examples of arroyo in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Far closer, a gang of 30 to 40 dark javelina barreled up a nearby arroyo. San Antonio Express-News, 18 Oct. 2019 Just below La Cachucha at the edge of a deep arroyo was a hairpin turn to the left. San Antonio Express-News, 18 Oct. 2019 Native rainbow trout and arroyo chubs were once abundant across Southern California. Los Angeles Times, 17 Sep. 2019 Perks include a fireplace, heated patios, hot tub built into the rocks, and a fire pit overlooking the arroyo. Megan Barber, Curbed, 14 June 2019 More than 1,000 different taxonomic categories of California native plants are arranged in displays focused on the state’s geography — from arroyo to redwood, canyon to desert, and meadow to woodland. Jill K. Robinson, San Francisco Chronicle, 14 June 2018 Perhaps farmers had neglected to plow this strip of ground for fear that the arroyo would collapse, but for whatever reason, there was a small population of San Quintín kangaroo rats remaining there. Marissa Fessenden, Smithsonian, 1 May 2018 That’s why our day two sighting up the rocky arroyo was such a thrill. Aaron Gulley, Outside Online, 16 Apr. 2018 So there’s Mars, filling the screen, its reddish desert revealed as a landscape of mountains and valleys that make the Grand Canyon look like a puny arroyo. John Schwartz, New York Times, 9 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'arroyo.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of arroyo

1777, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for arroyo

borrowed from Spanish, probably of pre-Latin substratal origin

Note: The word arroyo is traditionally compared with Latin arrugia, a word used by Pliny (Historia naturalis 33.70) for galleries excavated into mountainsides in the Iberian peninsula to extract gold. Presumably the word was extended from the sense "artificial passageway" to "natural passageway" (or vice versa, if "natural passageway" was the original sense). In medieval documents of Asturias, from 775 on, arogium and variants occur as latinized forms of the vernacular word.

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About arroyo

Dictionary Entries Near arroyo



arroyo grape

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for arroyo

Cite this Entry

“Arroyo.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Sep. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on arroyo

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for arroyo

Nglish: Translation of arroyo for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about arroyo


Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!