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

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 As the short, rocky trail descends among hairy stands of common mullein that can sprout corn-like shoots to over 6 feet high, riparian vegetation closes in on the trail. Mare Czinar, The Arizona Republic, 8 July 2022 When the blazes merged to form the biggest wildfire in state history, flames engulfed nearly 160 acres of riparian forest that once belonged to her father. Alicia Inez Guzmán For Searchlight Nm, Rolling Stone, 8 June 2022 There are plans for a path along the former Highway 12 to connect these so a longer hike can be taken through the riparian habitat, according to the release. Mike Jones, Arkansas Online, 1 July 2022 The plants grow in sun and shade in mixed evergreen forests, woodlands, chaparral, and riparian areas. Camille Fine, USA TODAY, 22 June 2022 The department says these projects have been successful in improving the ecological health of fish populations and riparian habitats that are vital for birds. Los Angeles Times, 15 Apr. 2022 Farmers can achieve these benefits through mixed plantings, longer and more varied crop rotations, hedgerows, buffer strips, riparian corridors, woodlots, meadows, natural-area irrigation. Jeff Mcmahon, Forbes, 27 Mar. 2022 That tension sometimes puts people like Burke at cross-purposes with scientists like Katherine Holmes, who believes figs should be eradicated from vulnerable riparian corridors. Jacob Roberts, Smithsonian Magazine, 25 Feb. 2022 The trail traces the edge of Johnson Canyon, showcasing a green riparian zone and tiny pools within the stony corridor. Mare Czinar, The Arizona Republic, 28 Aug. 2021 See More

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.

First Known Use of riparian

1807, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for riparian

Latin riparius — more at river

Learn More About riparian

Time Traveler for riparian

Time Traveler

The first known use of riparian was in 1807

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast About riparian

Dictionary Entries Near riparian

rip apart


riparian right

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for riparian

Last Updated

5 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Riparian.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Words You Should Know

  • hedgehog reading a book
  • Often used to describe “the march of time,” what does inexorable mean?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!