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, "“It’s almost like having a national park all to yourself.”," 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, "“It’s almost like having a national park all to yourself.”," 18 Oct. 2019 Native rainbow trout and arroyo chubs were once abundant across Southern California. Los Angeles Times, "South Gate charts new course to rear native fish that thrived before L.A.’s explosive growth," 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, "7 serene lake houses you can rent right now," 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, "Santa Barbara serenity abounds in region’s 5 best public gardens," 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, "This Kangaroo Rat Was Just Spotted For the First Time in 30 years," 1 May 2018 That’s why our day two sighting up the rocky arroyo was such a thrill. Aaron Gulley, Outside Online, "Believe It or Not, You Can Safari in New Mexico," 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, "At the Hayden Planetarium, a Joyride Across the Cosmos," 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.

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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.

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Time Traveler for arroyo

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The first known use of arroyo was in 1777

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Last Updated

3 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Arroyo.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Oct. 2020.

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