con·​flu·​ence | \ˈkän-ˌflü-ən(t)s, kən-ˈflü- \

Definition of confluence 

1 : a coming or flowing together, meeting, or gathering at one point a happy confluence of weather and scenery a confluence of cultures

2a : the flowing together of two or more streams

b : the place of meeting of two streams the Mississippi River's confluence with the Missouri River

c : the combined stream formed by conjunction

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Synonyms & Antonyms for confluence


conjunction, convergence, convergency, meeting



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Did You Know?

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

The pinch of mid-level players is really a confluence of events. Rob Mahoney,, "NBA Free Agency: The Thought Behind the One-Year Deal Trend," 12 July 2018 Quick demotion: Saturday wound up being a crazy confluence of events for utility man Nate Orf. Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Notes: Christian Yelich happy to return to Miami," 9 July 2018 The two-story floor plan is a confluence of wood, glass and concrete. Jack Flemming,, "Live and cook like celebrity chef Curtis Stone for $16,500 a month," 19 June 2018 How pretty is the blueberry-blackberry confluence here? Alex Beggs, Bon Appetit, "This Fruit Tart Is Going Through Its Blue Period, Like Picasso," 8 June 2018 Field Smith’s findings show that a confluence of factors influence the decision, including their perceptions of and experience with conventional schools and their exposure to other home educators. Melinda D. Anderson, The Atlantic, "The Radical Self-Reliance of Black Homeschooling," 17 May 2018 Still, April’s coming New York photo auctions will feature a nearly unprecedented confluence of five Steerages up for sale: Copies of the work will be sold at Christie’s (April 6), Phillips (April 9), Sotheby’s (April 10), and Swann’s (April 19)., "How Can One Artwork Have Four Very Different Price Tags?," 4 Apr. 2018 But Wednesday’s release went into the Sacramento River, just downstream from the confluence with the Feather. Ryan Sabalow, sacbee, "A million salmon were released into the Sacramento River. So why are anglers unhappy? | The Sacramento Bee," 2 May 2018 There may be no overriding factor within such a small sample size, but a confluence of weather, pitcher adjustments and familiarity breeding contempt could provide some explanations. Scott Boeck, USA TODAY, "MLB batters getting hit by pitches at a historic rate - and tensions are high," 12 Apr. 2018

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.

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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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Last Updated

11 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for confluence

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

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English Language Learners Definition of confluence

: a place where two rivers or streams join to become one

: a situation in which two things come together or happen at the same time

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Comments on confluence

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


an inexhaustible supply or amount

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