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

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 Yet in light of the prominent place that the Calatrava sculpture will occupy at the confluence of the Chicago River’s north and south branches, the bar for S25 is set intimidatingly high. Blair Kamin,, "Calatrava sculpture on the riverfront: Analysis," 9 May 2018 Yes, and the reasons for this increase is a confluence of a number of factors. Sandy Bauers,, "Can we relieve suffering, avoid drug misuse - and not become 'opioid phobic'?," 15 June 2018 Now the sport’s ultimate test has come around again, and, in what should have been a perfect confluence of timing, Pulisic has blossomed into a world class performer who belongs in such heady company. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "Christian Pulisic: USMNT missing out on World Cup 'will always hurt'," 12 June 2018 There was this amazing confluence of talent and history that produced Roth, Updike, Bellow — the greats. Matthew Ormseth,, "Philip Roth, Novelist and Warren Resident, Remembered By Those Who Knew Him," 24 May 2018 Newport Beach is cleaning up its bay by cutting off a storm drain confluence that has shown to be a significant source of fecal coliform bacteria. Hillary Davis,, "Newport Beach to divert often-contaminated storm drain from the bay to the sewer," 14 Apr. 2018 Under Hallgrimsson’s deceptively laid-back leadership, this tiny nation sitting far away at the confluence of the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans has finally become a contender. Sarah Lyall, New York Times, "With a Coach Who Pulls Teeth to Relax, Iceland Becomes a Contender," 14 June 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

2 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for confluence

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

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More Definitions for confluence



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).


alleviating pain or harshness

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