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

Essential Meaning of confluence

1 technical : a place where two rivers or streams join to become one the Mississippi River's confluence with the Missouri River
2 somewhat formal : a situation in which two things come together or happen at the same time

Full 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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for confluence



Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 Sales are slowing and some measures of profit are shrinking as the industry struggles with a confluence of challenges. New York Times, 30 Sep. 2021 Business owners say the conditions have deteriorated since June, when there were a half dozen tents set up in the area known as Newmarket Square at the confluence of Roxbury, Dorchester, and the South End., 20 Sep. 2021 The park sits at the confluence of the Trempealeau and Mississippi rivers, with 500-foot bluffs offering views of both. Chelsey Lewis, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 9 Sep. 2021 Located at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, the county lost 36.4% of its residents between 2010 and 2020, Census Bureau data released this month shows. John Mccormick, WSJ, 25 Aug. 2021 Water has long been a source of pride for Greeley, which was founded in 1870 at the confluence of two rivers, the Cache la Poudre and South Platte. Arkansas Online, 21 Aug. 2021 Water has long been a source of pride for Greeley, which was founded in 1870 at the confluence of two rivers, the Cache la Poudre and South Platte. Matthew Daly,, 19 Aug. 2021 Water has long been a source of pride for Greeley, which was founded in 1870 at the confluence of two rivers, the Cache la Poudre and South Platte. Matthew Daly, ajc, 19 Aug. 2021 With the right confluence of events, someone else’s local issue becomes the politics everyone else’s hangs on. Jeb Lund, The New Republic, 26 Oct. 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.

See More

First Known Use of confluence

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for confluence

see confluent entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About confluence

Time Traveler for confluence

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near confluence




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for confluence

Last Updated

24 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Confluence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Oct. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on confluence

Nglish: Translation of confluence for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of confluence for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!