adverb or adjective down·stream \ ˈdau̇n-ˈstrēm \
Updated on: 15 Apr 2018

Definition of downstream

1 : in the direction of or nearer to the mouth of a stream
2 : in or toward the latter stages of a usually industrial process or the stages (such as marketing) after manufacture

Recent Examples of downstream from the Web

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.

First Known Use of downstream


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.

DOWNSTREAM Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of downstream for English Language Learners

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

DOWNSTREAM Defined for Kids


adverb down·stream \ ˈdau̇n-ˈstrēm \

Definition of downstream for Students

: in the direction a stream is flowing
  • paddling downstream

Medical Dictionary


adverb or adjective down·stream \ ˌdau̇n-ˈstrēm \

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 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 BarinagaScience7 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. MinnaThe New England Journal of Medicine24 Feb. 2005

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without deliberation, pause, or delay

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