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 confluence of the Milwaukee, Menomonee and Kinnickinnic rivers drew people here long before incorporation. Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee loves its rivers and Lake Michigan — and keeps abusing them, too," 3 July 2018 While the confluence of complications in Snipes' case was extreme, return trips from nursing homes to hospitals are far from unusual. Jordan Rau,, "Medicare takes aim at boomerang hospitalizations of nursing home patients," 22 June 2018 While the confluence of complications in Snipes’ case was extreme, return trips from nursing homes to hospitals are far from unusual. Jordan Rau, Washington Post, "Medicare Takes Aim At Boomerang Hospitalizations Of Nursing Home Patients," 13 June 2018 Readers must whack their way through a thicket of complexities that lies at the confluence of general relativity and quantum theory. Alan Hirshfeld, WSJ, "Book Review: Feeling Gravity’s Pull," 16 Nov. 2018 There are a confluence of factors behind GM’s decision — changing consumer demands, production costs, trade — some of which are tied to Trump, and some of which aren’t. Emily Stewart, Vox, "GM is closing plants and cutting jobs. Here’s what it means for workers — and for Trump.," 26 Nov. 2018 For Mason, a longtime friend of Butler, the project was the perfect confluence of events. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Veda’s Extended Size Collaboration With Nicolette Mason Is Fashion at Its Most Fearless," 13 Nov. 2018 Pixar post-production supervisor Paul Cichocki saw the confluence as an opportunity. Jordan Kushins, Popular Mechanics, "A Brief History of Sound in Cinema," 24 Feb. 2016 Helicopters will fly from the Umtanum Creek Recreation site for no more than two days during the second week of October to place 1,000 logs in 4.5 miles of water, starting just one mile above the creek’s confluence with the Yakima River. Luke Thompson, The Seattle Times, "5,000 logs will be dropped into Yakima River tributaries to enhance ecosystem," 29 Sep. 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

18 Feb 2019

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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

technical : a place where two rivers or streams join to become one
somewhat formal : a situation in which two things come together or happen at the same time

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esteemed in general opinion

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