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

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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 Snow’s insights came from a confluence of factors that together led to his breakthrough: his working-class upbringing, his dogged pursuit for answers, and his time spent questioning residents on the streets of his neighborhood. Yvette Cabrera, Wired, "What a Victorian Disease Detective Proved About Urban Health," 2 Jan. 2021 With the ski hill, river access and a number of popular trails on or near the property, developer Brad Johnson says the 27-acre RiverWest site is at the confluence of all the things that make people want to visit or move to Duluth. Brooks Johnson, Star Tribune, "RiverWest site poised to become Duluth's newest base camp," 26 Dec. 2020 On a September afternoon, at the confluence of two streams that flow to the salt flat, Muñoz Coca shepherded sheep and goats in a landscape of cactus and shrubs. Ian Morse, Quartz, "Chile’s new constitution could rewrite the story of lithium mining," 22 Dec. 2020 The closure area extends from approximately half a mile above the Verde Hot Springs down to the confluence of the Verde River with Fossil Creek. Erin Stone, The Arizona Republic, "Feds round up feral cattle along the Verde River after habitat damage complaints," 10 Dec. 2020 Dunham said a confluence of the 2008 recession and the death of George Floyd in police custody last spring have driven death penalty numbers down. Washington Post, "Despite recent federal flurry, number of U.S. executions is lowest since 1991," 16 Dec. 2020 But due to a strange confluence of events, the Colts seemed to be hit hardest with both injuries and COVID simultaneously. Jim Ayello, The Indianapolis Star, "Insider: Colts won't make excuse for Titans bludgeoning, but they deserve to be excused," 30 Nov. 2020 Despite what feels like a confluence of extremes, Wofford said the day’s unusual weather was no cause for concern. Hayley Smith, Los Angeles Times, "Dry heat, wet feet: Record temperatures and king tides collide in Southern California," 16 Nov. 2020 In a dizzying confluence of events, this week’s days-long election has coincided with record-high coronavirus numbers in the US. Eve Sneider, Wired, "An Election Week Case Surge, Vaccine Progress, and More Coronavirus News," 6 Nov. 2020

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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Time Traveler for confluence

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for confluence

Last Updated

21 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Confluence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for confluence


How to pronounce confluence (audio) How to pronounce confluence (audio)

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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