ri·​par·​i·​an | \ rə-ˈper-ē-ən How to pronounce riparian (audio) , rī-\

Definition of riparian

: relating to or living or located on the bank of a natural watercourse (such as a river) or sometimes of a lake or a tidewater riparian trees

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Did You Know?

Riparian came to English from the same source that gave us "river" - the Latin riparius, a noun deriving from ripa, meaning "bank" or "shore." First appearing in English in the 19th century, "riparian" refers to things that exist alongside a river (such as riparian wetlands, habitats, trees, etc.). Some river communities have laws called "riparian rights," referring to the rights of those owning land along a river to have access to the waterway. Note the distinction of this word from "littoral," which usually refers to things that occur along the shore of a sea or ocean.

Examples of riparian in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Polling results from Colorado College’s State of the Rockies project over the last decade show strong majority support for conservation encompassing riparian corridors. Bruce Finley, The Denver Post, "A run through Colorado’s Yampa whitewater reveals the wildness that remains. But will the West’s rivers survive urban demands?," 23 June 2019 City and private planners working on riverfront redevelopment have attempted to plan riparian projects citywide. Kari Lydersen, Washington Post, "In Chicago, a river revitalized — but not for everyone," 21 June 2019 It is found in woodlands, grasslands, chaparral, agricultural and riparian areas from sea level to the mountain ranges. Rebecca Jepsen, The Mercury News, "Love ’em or hate ’em, snakes are good for your garden," 12 June 2019 Specifically, the project will restore and enhance 1,000 feet of channel and instream habitat, 5.8 acres of riparian scrub, half an acre of meadow and 3.3 acres of coastal sage scrub. Daily Pilot Staff,, "Around Town: Wooden Boat Festival coming to Newport Beach this weekend," 6 June 2019 The Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch, 2757 E. Guadalupe Road, Gilbert The preserve features marshlands and native riparian and upland vegetation areas. Connie Cone Sexton, azcentral, "10 best shade spots to escape the blistering Phoenix heat," 30 July 2014 The judge also noted a lack of progress on improving riparian sites in an area where tennis courts had been built. Hal Bernton, The Seattle Times, "Crystal ski area ordered to control parking-lot runoff by Oct. 31," 1 June 2018 The sanctuary consists of 1,700 acres of open water, tidal freshwater marshes, forested wetlands, upland and riparian forest, creeks, meadows, pine and sand barrens, and fields along the Patuxent River. Janene Holzberg,, "Jug Bay set to unveil trails, Nature Discovery Place at new Waysons Corner preserve," 4 July 2018 But here Bidwell starts to feel wilder, as the Maidu and Middle and Upper Trails branch off into the foothills and toward the rock outcropping known as Monkey Face, and other trails dip into the dense riparian growth along Big Chico Creek. Peter Fish, San Francisco Chronicle, "Best secrets of small-town Chico’s big city park," 16 Mar. 2018

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

1810, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for riparian

Latin riparius — more at river

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Dictionary Entries near riparian


rip a hole

rip apart


riparian right


rip cord

Statistics for riparian

Last Updated

26 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for riparian

The first known use of riparian was in 1810

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ri·​par·​i·​an | \ rə-ˈper-ē-ən How to pronounce riparian (audio) \

Legal Definition of riparian

: of or relating to or living or located on the bank of a watercourse (as a river or stream) or sometimes a lake broadly : of or relating to or living or located on the bank of a body of water — compare littoral

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