adverb or adjective
down·​stream | \ ˈdau̇n-ˈstrēm How to pronounce downstream (audio) \

Definition of downstream

1 : in the direction of or nearer to the mouth of a stream floating downstream located two miles downstream
2 : in or toward the latter stages of a usually industrial process or the stages (such as marketing) after manufacture improving profits downstream downstream products
3 biochemistry : toward the end of a series of cellular processes : following a linked molecular event occurring in a sequence But by looking downstream of the tumor suppressors [genes] at the proteins they influence, drug developers hope to find good targets.— Marcia Barinaga

Examples of downstream in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

In late April, Judge William Orrick, siding with Indian tribes and commercial fishermen, ruled that a significant share of water that farmers needed for their spring planting is going downstream to aid troubled fish populations. Ryan Sabalow And Dale Kasler, sacbee, "Can an uneasy truce hold off another water rebellion on California's northern border? | The Sacramento Bee," 11 May 2018 Heavy rains forced the state authorities to release excess water from dozens of reservoirs, causing floods downstream. Fox News, "Heavy monsoon rains kill 44 in southern India, close airport," 15 Aug. 2018 If the canal can’t do its job, farmers downstream likely will pump more groundwater during dry years. Dale Kasler And Phillip Reese, sacbee, "The Valley floor is sinking, and it’s crippling California’s ability to deliver water," 13 July 2018 The skeleton had lain buried for about 500 years in the muddy silt of Chamber’s Wharf, a site located at a bend in the river just downstream from the Tower of London. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Medieval skeleton’s boots reveal harsh realities of life on the Thames," 6 Dec. 2018 Ota’s remains were found downstream from the canal, the charges say. Sara Jean Green, The Seattle Times, "Police: Woman who fled to Japan after 2011 homicide is booked into the King County Jail," 4 Dec. 2018 At 19 feet, new developments downstream of Brookville experience basement flooding, while flooding of low areas continues along the river in New Trenton and Cedar Grove, Indiana, as well as West Harrison, Indiana and Harrison, Ohio. Sarah Brookbank,, "Cincinnati weather: Flooding predictions and road closures," 3 Apr. 2018 Initially Duke and recreation groups planned for the stronger flows, but feedback from a growing community of paddlers — Rock Hill has several commercial paddling outfits just downstream of Wylie — found the higher amount was too much. John Marks, charlotteobserver, "Lake Wylie is on the rise. Why it may take a while, but could ripple for generations.," 2 Feb. 2018 Ice on the Milwaukee River broke apart Friday and is seen flowing downstream through Glendale, south of Bender Road, in this video taken by Mark Crawford. Don Behm, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "High water and warm weather break up ice on Milwaukee River in Glendale," 23 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'downstream.' 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 downstream

1706, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

31 Mar 2019

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The first known use of downstream was in 1706

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More Definitions for downstream


adverb or adjective

Financial Definition of downstream

What It Is

Downstream refers to the benefits (or costs) that will ultimately result from decisions made today.

How It Works

In finance, a series of investments might be made with the anticipation that at a point in time in the future these efforts will yield a series of returns.  These returns occur after the initial investments.  As a result, they are referred to as downstream benefits.  Similarly, investments can have downstream "costs" as well.   The expectation is that the downstream benefits will outweigh the downstream costs.

At the same time, because the future is hard to predict, downstream effects are often unanticipated, setting off unintended costs and consequences.

Why It Matters

It is important to consider the "downstream" effects of an investment decision since it will impact ones future economic performance.

Source: Investing Answers



English Language Learners Definition of downstream

: in the direction in which a stream, river, etc., flows


down·​stream | \ ˈdau̇n-ˈstrēm How to pronounce downstream (audio) \

Kids Definition of downstream

: in the direction a stream is flowing paddling downstream

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adverb or adjective
down·​stream | \ ˌdau̇n-ˈstrēm How to pronounce downstream (audio) \

Medical Definition of downstream

1 : in the same direction along a molecule of DNA or RNA as that in which transcription and translation take place and toward the end having a hydroxyl group attached to the position labeled 3′ in the terminal nucleotide a nucleotide sequence located downstream from the regulatory gene effects on the expression of downstream genes — compare upstream sense 1
2 : toward the end of a series of cellular processes : following a linked molecular event occurring in a sequence But by looking downstream of the tumor suppressors [genes] at the proteins they influence, drug developers hope to find good targets.— Marcia Barinaga, Science, 7 Nov. 1997 The tyrosine kinase activity of phosphorylated EGFR [epidermal growth factor receptor] in cancer cells results in the phosphorylation of downstream proteins that incite cell proliferation, invasion, metastasis, and inhibition of apoptosis.— Jonathan E. Dowell and John D. Minna, The New England Journal of Medicine, 24 Feb. 2005

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More from Merriam-Webster on downstream

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with downstream

Spanish Central: Translation of downstream

Nglish: Translation of downstream for Spanish Speakers

Comments on downstream

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


an enemy or opponent

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