estuary

noun
es·​tu·​ary | \ ˈes-chə-ˌwer-ē How to pronounce estuary (audio) , ˈesh-\
plural estuaries

Definition of estuary

: a water passage where the tide meets a river current especially : an arm of the sea at the lower end of a river

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Synonyms for estuary

Synonyms

arm, bay, bight, cove, creek [chiefly British], embayment, firth, fjord (also fiord), gulf, inlet, loch [Scottish]

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Did You Know?

A partly enclosed coastal body of water in which river water is mixed with seawater is called an estuary. An estuary is thus defined by salinity rather than geography. Many coastal features designated by other names are in fact estuaries (for instance, Chesapeake Bay). Some of the oldest continuous civilizations have flourished in estuarine environments (for example, the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, the Nile delta, and the Ganges delta). Cities such as London (Thames River), New York (Hudson River), and Montreal (St. Lawrence River) developed on estuaries and became important commercial centers.

Examples of estuary in a Sentence

the city sits on the shores of a deep estuary where the Hudson River meets the Atlantic Ocean

Recent Examples on the Web

The repairs are considered an essential step in allowing the lake to hold more water, which would reduce the need for discharges into the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee river estuaries to the east and west. Jim Turner, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Herbert Hoover Dike repairs get $514.2 million boost in federal funding," 6 July 2018 While there are several thousand California sea lions in the Columbia River estuary, only about 200 to 300 swim more than 100 miles upriver from the Pacific Ocean and would be eligible for removal, state wildlife officials say. Phuong Le, The Seattle Times, "Senate passes bill making it easier to kill sea lions in the Columbia River," 7 Dec. 2018 In the channels and estuaries further east, locals told me there are still lots of residents who chose to ride out the storm and are now cut off. Fox News, "FEMA chief Brock Long on Hurricane Florence recovery efforts; Will allegation affect Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation?," 16 Sep. 2018 Carlson said the estuary was set aside for wildlife and helps boost species that are in decline. Devin Kelly, Anchorage Daily News, "Worries about wildlife prompt push for dog ban in South Anchorage estuary," 27 May 2018 Seagrass grows in various depths: in shallow or mid-depth water like estuaries, coasts, and reefs, or deep-water environments. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "The Great Barrier Reef's Seagrass Is an Amazing Carbon Sink," 18 Dec. 2018 Her husband installed a telescope in the clock tower and enjoyed sailing in the Tagus River estuary just beyond the property. J. S. Marcus, WSJ, "When Home Is a Portuguese Bachelor Pad Fit for a King," 25 July 2018 LiveScience reports that the blanket of goo is choking the estuary near Florida’s southeastern coast. James Rogers, Fox News, "Blue-green toxic algae invades Florida river," 15 Aug. 2018 Citing the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, TCPalm reports that a recent sample taken from the St. Lucie River estuary contained toxins that are 10 times the level considered hazardous. James Rogers, Fox News, "Blue-green toxic algae invades Florida river," 15 Aug. 2018

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

1538, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for estuary

Latin aestuarium, from aestus boiling, tide; akin to Latin aestas summer — more at edify

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Statistics for estuary

Last Updated

11 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for estuary

The first known use of estuary was in 1538

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More Definitions for estuary

estuary

noun

English Language Learners Definition of estuary

: an area where a river flows into the sea

estuary

noun
es·​tu·​ary | \ ˈes-chə-ˌwer-ē How to pronounce estuary (audio) \
plural estuaries

Kids Definition of estuary

: an arm of the sea at the lower end of a river

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More from Merriam-Webster on estuary

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with estuary

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for estuary

Spanish Central: Translation of estuary

Nglish: Translation of estuary for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about estuary

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