con·​flu·​ence | \ ˈkän-ˌflü-ən(t)s How to pronounce confluence (audio) , kən-ˈflü- How to pronounce confluence (audio) \

Definition of confluence

1 : a coming or flowing together, meeting, or gathering at one point At the confluence of Native American, Hispanic, and Anglo cultures, Santa Fe is the symbolic heart of the Southwest.— Jeffrey Steingarten A hip urban confluence of tasting rooms, galleries, and surfboard designers, it's a place where wine, art and beach culture coalesce.Wine Enthusiast Magazine Every once in a while in pop music there is a magical confluence: the right performers doing the right music with the right support.— Ralph Novak Italian influences have marked not only the style of architecture in Passau but also the way of life. Then, of course, Eastern Europe is next door. There are many confluences, it seems.— N. Scott Momaday
2a : the flowing together of two or more streams A complex lacework of waterways formed by the confluence of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers, the delta is the state's major water source …— Robert B. Gunnison Confluences are a basic building block of river networks on all scales.— Chris Paola
b : the place of meeting of two streams … quaint Carbondale is set at the confluence of the Crystal and Roaring Fork Rivers.National Geographic
c : the stream or body formed by the junction of two or more streams : a combined flood … and eventually chose, disastrously, the only place in Assam where it was impossible for tea to thrive, being regularly drowned by the confluence of two huge rivers, a more suitable terrain for rice.— Christian Lamb
3 or confluency \ kən-​ˈflü-​ən(t)-​sē How to pronounce confluence (audio) \, cell biology : the degree of substrate coverage that is exhibited by proliferating, adherent cells cultured in a laboratory vessel (such as a petri dish or flask) At days 12-14, cell confluence reached 80%.— Runguang Li et al. The measurement of cell confluency is used to determine the growth phase of cells …— Mee Foong et al. also : complete coverage of a culture substrate by proliferating, adherent cells When the cells reach confluence, they form aggregates and can be serially cultured. — C. A. B. Jahoda et al. Replicate dishes of pooled cells were grown to confluency and induced with Newcastle disease virus … — Hermann Ragg and Charles Weissmann

Synonyms & Antonyms for confluence



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The joining of rivers—as at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, where the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers flow together spectacularly—was the original meaning of confluence, and in its later meanings we still hear a strong echo of the physical merging of waters. So today we can speak of a confluence of events, a confluence of interests, a confluence of cultures, and so on, from which something important often emerges.

Examples of confluence in a Sentence

the Mississippi River's confluence with the Missouri River a happy confluence of beautiful weather and spectacular scenery during our vacation
Recent Examples on the Web Companies that forced reluctant employees to return to the office saw talent abandon ship, which, in confluence with other factors, grew into the Great Resignation that still continues to ravage organizations worldwide. Artis Rozentals, Forbes, 18 Mar. 2022 The team was to be based in Barcelos, a former colonial capital 270 miles upriver from the Rio Negro’s confluence with the Amazon at Manaus. New York Times, 16 Mar. 2022 An unusual confluence of factors have been fueled in different ways by the pandemic: Highly expansionary fiscal policy (with $4.5 trillion in COVID-19 relief) is coupled with accommodating monetary policy. Xander Peters, The Christian Science Monitor, 22 Dec. 2021 The action is moved forward by some 300 years to present-day Budapest, which is intended as a metaphor for East-West confluence, and where a meeting of the five Samurai clans is taking place. Patrick Frater, Variety, 17 Dec. 2021 Either one points to a deeply broken soul, but the two in confluence serve as a recipe for a profound sort of allure. Jack King, Vulture, 3 Dec. 2021 As a result, their winning streak, their Big Ten championship streak and — barring an almost unimaginable confluence of events, their 2021 national championship hopes — all ended. Nathan Baird, cleveland, 27 Nov. 2021 At dawn on the Río Claro Cocorná Sur, near the tributary’s confluence with the great Magdalena River in northwestern Colombia, the rising sun gave light to turtles slipping off logs and howler monkeys stirring in the guadua trees. Jordan Salama, Smithsonian Magazine, 15 Nov. 2021 Malle would capture the players at work at the grand but crumbling New Amsterdam Theatre on West 42nd Street, sans costumes or any real set—a perfect confluence of art and life. Marley Marius, Vogue, 8 Nov. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of confluence

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for confluence

see confluent entry 1

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The first known use of confluence was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

27 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Confluence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on confluence

Nglish: Translation of confluence for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of confluence for Arabic Speakers


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