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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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 The plot is also a riparian corridor along Crooked Creek, which makes it of even more concern for Mullins. London Gibson, The Indianapolis Star, 30 Apr. 2021 White Oak Creek provides a riparian corridor that runs through both locations. Matt Wyatt, San Antonio Express-News, 29 Apr. 2021 While horse lovers are fond of seeing the animals roaming wild in the forest, the Forest Service says the herd is damaging riparian areas by chewing up forage along river banks. Michael Kohn, oregonlive, 9 May 2021 The land threatened by the fire is important for its commercial timber, watersheds, riparian areas, rangeland, heritage sites, recreation and wilderness areas, officials said. Miguel Torres, The Arizona Republic, 11 Apr. 2021 Rerouting away from the riparian area has caused additional problems because the group has to carry much more water, Goodman said. Erin Stone, The Arizona Republic, 10 Dec. 2020 In the Sierra foothills, blooms are just starting to pop in the river corridors and riparian zones, such as north of Grass Valley at South Yuba State Park. Tom Stienstra, San Francisco Chronicle, 1 Apr. 2021 The trail first descends to a riparian corridor across the creek from Red Rock Crossing. Roger Naylor, The Arizona Republic, 5 Mar. 2021 Forest specialists such as the Indian pitta, white-bellied drongo and common woodshrike were only seen in the riparian forests of Mangar Bani. Neha Jain, Quartz, 16 Mar. 2021

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

1807, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for riparian

Latin riparius — more at river

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Time Traveler for riparian

Time Traveler

The first known use of riparian was in 1807

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Last Updated

25 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Riparian.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for riparian


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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